Q&A with Sigurd Jenssen, Director, Exhaust Gas Cleaning

At the MEPC meeting in London it was agreed that the 0.5% cap on sulphur emissions from ships will come into force in 2020. What does this mean for the shipping industry and how should they prepare for it?

It will mean a great deal to the whole marine industry. Fuel prices are likely to change; In what direction depends on the choices we make now. The important thing for each ship operator is to decide which route one wants to take. Everyone will have to abide by the same rules, but we can choose the way to do so. One can either run on low sulphur fuel, or install an exhaust gas cleaning system.  

Why is it important that these type of emissions are reduced, and what benefit will this have on the environment?

Sulphur oxides are very harmful to both the environment and to human health. It causes acid rain that destroys land, crops and freshwater lakes. It has been estimated that 60 000 people die prematurely due to marine emission alone per year, causing problems such as asthma and lung cancer. This is why it’s so important to limit the emissions to air.

Why are scrubber systems the optimal solution and what type of systems do you offer? 

Scrubbers will save money for the operator in the long run, because one can run on cheaper high sulphur fuel and still be compliant with the regulations. With a payback time of under three years, it’s a viable option for most vessels. Scrubbers are also a good option from an environmental point of view, as they will remove particulate matter along with sulphur oxides. Overall, the emission footprint is smaller for running a scrubber, compared to running on distillates, as the de-sulphurisation process is very energy demanding. Wärtsilä has a full wet scrubber portfolio with our I-Sox and V-Sox type scrubbers. These can be all be installed as open loop, closed loop or hybrid systems, all according to the needs of the customer.

What experience do you have with supplying these systems to the marine industry and what other unique benefits do you offer your customers? 

Wärtsilä has worked with exhaust gas cleaning for over 11 years and have an extensive reference list of 89 systems either installed or in the pipeline. With over 200 000 running hours we have by far the most experience in the market and we also have the smallest footprint. Wärtsilä has a worldwide service network and can offer unique packages, ranging from equipment delivery to full turnkey projects with full installation assistance. Our most recent development is our 2020 scrubber solution, which has been made to meet the challenges of a 0.5% sulphur cap. This solution can be applied to our whole scrubber portfolio.

Are there any alternative funding solutions for ship owners that could help the cost of installation? 

Yes, we have a collaboration with CME (clean marine energy) that can provide financial help for those that need it. Basically one will get financial help from the company and then pay back the equivalent of the fuel cost savings until the scrubber system and the loan is paid off. As such, one would have the same expenses as by running on low sulphur fuel, but in the end the owner will keep the scrubber system.
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