October 16

Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016 (14:00-16:00 hrs)

Environmental compliance strategies under the light of changes in the oil market

Under the title, “Environmental compliance strategies under the light of changes in the oil market”, the traditional CIMAC Circle at the SMM marine trade show took place on 8th September 2016 and attracted an audience eager to hear expert opinions from both sides of the industry.

The panel was chaired by Paolo Tonon from Maersk Maritime Technology, who with his varied CV offers experience from both the supply and user sides of the engine industry. The panel was completed by major suppliers from the engine industry;

• Niklas Sievers, General Manager Medium Speed Products, ABB Turbo Systems.

• Kjeld Aabo, Director Customer Support, MAN Diesel & Turbo.

• Mikael Wideskog, Director Research & Technology Programs, Wärtsilä.

• Mark Lipton, Director Commercial Applications, GE Marine.

Introducing the subject, Paolo Tonon gave a resume of the current situation that the shipping industry is facing its lowest ever freight rates and substantial changes are underway during the consolidation phase. The Oil & Gas industry is also undergoing changes in the need to recover from historically low oil prices. The low price of oil does not help in the development of gas solutions and of energy efficiency improvements in addition to reduced investment and activity in the energy sector, which is a vital driver of the world economy, thus adding further stagnation. Although reduced in scope following the postponement of ECA designations, the process of emissions reduction was now well underway with Tier 3 in gradual introduction and new legislations regarding the reduction of sulphur in fuels. Mr. Tonon went on to add that the sulphur caps in two regions in the world is a reality, SOx limitation in European waters will be true in 2020 and IMO will need to decide on global sulphur implementation date - 2020 or 2025. Hence, engine owners and operators worldwide were facing multiple challenges at a time of growing over-capacity.

In a presentation centring on potential for performance enhancement on medium speed dual-fuel engines, Niklas Sievers emphasized that since on-engine emissions reduction technologies reflected great improvements in combustion, they were often instrumental in all round improvements. This was certainly the case with two-stage turbocharging and variable valve timing, whose effect is not only substantial reductions in NOx on diesel engines, but also significant improvements in power density, fuel consumption, engine response and, significantly, engine control in both the diesel and gas operating modes of dual-fuel engines. He backed his assertions with a case study of dual-fuel engines operating in cruise vessels with variable frequency diesel-electric propulsion with dynamic AC control.

Kjeld Aabo looked first at the effect of the 0.5% limit of sulphur in fuels which would apply to vessels in international waters from 2020 or 2025. An interesting slide showed the changing proportions of fuel types, stressing the effects of the legislation on HFO usage. It predicted that standard HFO usage would fall from almost 100% to 50%, reflecting the extent to which ship-owners would adopt scrubbers as opposed to low sulphur fuels. On the NOx reduction side, he looked at EGR versus high and low pressure SCR on two-stroke engines and the related on-engine technical measures required to enable their use. The deciding factors for all emissions reduction technologies could be divided into the preferences of the shipyard and those of the owners. The former comprised:  first cost (CAPEX); space requirements and installation flexibility. The latter comprised: operating cost (OPEX); operation simplicity; reliability; maintenance cost; waste disposal costs.

Introducing his presentation on compliance strategies in the light of oil market changes, Mikael Wideskog posed the questions -  Is cheap oil an opportunity? Will it last? Many were predicting a recovery but the certainty was that prices would continue to fluctuate. Although declarations of ECAs were delayed, and there were currently only two ECAs in operation, their effect was still considerable since they affected two of the world’s biggest trading areas – North America (coastal NOx and SOx ECA) and Northern Europe (North Sea and Baltic SOx ECA). Stressing that fuel flexibility would be extremely important on the four-stroke engine side, Mikael notes that LNG propulsion has increased in regions where ECA areas have been established and this could be expected to be a pattern that would be repeated.   For example, with 1500 engines having already accumulated over 16,000,000 running hours, dual-fuel engines were now a growing reality.

To give a more comprehensive overview, Mark Lipton outlined the emissions perspective of a manufacturer of both large piston and gas turbine engines, whose major markets were power generation and the oil and gas industry, where prime movers had already been subject to strict legislation for some time. Echoing Niklas Sievers’ statements, among Mark’s observations on GE’s NOx compliance experience in these industries were that regulations tied to “Best Available Technology” (BAT) were a considerable driver of innovative new solutions which benefitted not only emissions but a broad spectrum of criteria. For this reason, while compliance costs more at first, OPEX drops over time. In this respect it had been established that the reliability of equipment designed to reduce emissions can be as good as or better than standard solutions, with operator training considered a key contributory factor. Finally, he noted that emissions compliance applies to the life of the equipment and hence resulted in an obligation to maintain equipment in prime condition which also leads to a higher standard of economic performance, as well as being an incentive to remote monitoring of the prime mover. While the shipping industry had taken a different route to long term compliance, continuous and permanent emission monitoring systems (CEMS and PEMS) had proven of great benefit in stationary applications.

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