Wärtsilä Corporation initiated in 2006 a two-year development project to test scrubbing plant for removing sulphur oxides (SOx) from the exhaust gases of marine diesel engines and oil-fired boilers. The project involves testing of scrubbing equipment on marine engines burning typical grades of heavy fuel oil.
The objective of the project is to study the equipment’s performance in realistic applications, to identify any difficulties in utilising such scrubbing equipment onboard Marine installation and to design complete exhaust gas cleaning system compliant to IMO requirements and other regulations. The project will investigate the effect of scrubber design on performance, lifetime and economy, the effect of scrubbing equipment on engine performance, installation requirements, discharge water criteria, ecological impact etc.
Through this project Wärtsilä, as the leading supplier of ship power plant and related services, develops unique knowledge and expertise about scrubbing technology for both new buildings and retrofit installations. It is envisaged that any results obtained from the project will be equally applicable to any two-stroke or four-stroke engines in the Wärtsilä marine engine programme as well as to any other brand.
SOx emissions have become a practical problem for ship owners and operators as regulations to control them have come into force under the MARPOL Convention (Annex VI) and from the European Union.
There are no modifications that could be made to diesel engines or boilers to reduce SOx emissions. The only ways to reduce SOx emissions are either to burn fuels with lower sulphur content or to aftertreat the engine exhaust gases.
The usual fuels for marine diesel engines are heavy fuel oils with sulphur contents typically of 1.5 to 3.5 per cent sulphur. Such engines can readily burn low-sulphur fuel oils (those with less than 1.5 per cent sulphur) though the associated problems are known and suitable operating guidance is available. However, there can be difficulties in the availability of low-sulphur fuel oils, and if available they can involve increased bunker costs.
Thus exhaust gas scrubbing offers ship owners and operators a solution which enables them to bunker the most economical fuel for their engines, balancing between investments and operating costs. A selection of technical solutions will apparently be required for different demands and applications, geographical areas, routes, and other customer requirements. The reduced efficiency of sea water scrubbers in areas with low alkalinity in the sea water needs to be considered when selecting the scrubber configuration for an individual ship. Fortunately there are technical means to fully compensate this issue.
As per discharged water, a large environmental study is being run in association with research institutes and maritime administrations. The report conclusion will lead us to specify the appropriate water treatment systems so that it has no adverse impact on ecosystems.
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Notes to the editor:
Wärtsilä enhances the business of its customers by providing them with complete lifecycle power solutions. When creating better and environmentally compatible technologies, Wärtsilä focuses on the marine and energy markets with products and solutions as well as services. Through innovative products and services, Wärtsilä sets out to be the most valued business partner of all its customers. This is achieved by the dedication of more than 13,000 professionals manning 130 Wärtsilä locations in close to 70 countries around the world.