CNIM subsidiary LAB, a provider of flue gas treatment and desulfurisation, has challenged the shipping industry to consider lifecycle costs when selecting exhaust gas cleaning, or scrubber, technology.
Part of the total cost analysis should include the cost of repairs, maintenance, and shipyard time, the company said.
While the majority of scrubbers in use today are constructed from high-end alloys, there have been reports of corrosion on some marine scrubber units.
To help counteract this, LAB has developed a composite scrubber – available in open, closed or hybrid format – as an alternative to its range of alloy units to provide customers with a choice and removing the risk of corrosion.
Significantly, LAB’s composite units – rigorously tested over the past three years with thousands of hours of operational service on board Brittany Ferries Ropax ‘Mont Saint-Michel’ – avoid the potential for unscheduled repair and downtime, together with associated yard costs and the loss of commercial opportunities while the vessel is out of service, the company claimed.
Neil Anderson, Marine Technologies Director at LAB, commented: “With the prime focus understandably on the economics, and the potential financial advantage to be gained from continuing to burn less expensive heavy fuel oil (HFO) instead of the costlier, low sulfur fuel, discussion around the practicalities of design and installation has been muted. However, for those considering scrubbers, it is important to understand the available options in terms of design and materials.”
As well as removing the risk of corrosion, LAB’s patented DeepBlueLAB SOx composite units can be sited on deck or around the funnel area, making them easier to install and maintain. Moreover, all the engines and the vessel’s boiler can be linked to one scrubber unit, meaning there is less complex piping for installation.
The composite material is claimed to be 20-30% lighter than a similar version made from high-end alloys, reducing load at sea and reducing fuel consumption, while also allowing for a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly recycling processes.
Anderson continued: “While scrubbers do not represent a single solution for the whole of the merchant fleet, for many shipowners, operators and cargo owners it is a viable and commercially compelling option. While there is a tendency to look at scrubber technology as a one-off capital expenditure, it’s essential that the whole life cycle costs are properly considered.”
The corrosion-resistant properties of the composite material makes it a robust and durable long-term solution, while its location can allow for increased accessibility and improved maintenance. The advantages are enhanced further by knowing that the composite unit also allows for more cost-effective and environmentally friendly recycling processes.
The DeepBlueLAB SOx scrubber is the only system in the market that can be manufactured in either composite or high-end alloys and available as an inline, offline or multi-streaming solution. Although inline systems can only be fitted to one engine, offline multi-streaming solutions offer greater flexibility as they ensure that the scrubber can treat multiple engines, including auxiliary engines and boilers, LAB concluded.