Members of the Clean Shipping Alliance (CSA) 2020 are advising those shipowners looking to install marine exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS), also known as scrubbers, as way of meeting the 2020 global sulphur cap requirements to ensure that manufacturers, shipyards and installers are using quality, high-end materials.
Based on the collective experience gained from more than 1500 EGCS installations, CSA 2020 members found the quality of materials and coatings used is the most important factor in optimising EGCS safety and averting any corrosion problems during operation.
“There are always some challenges involved when specifying ships’ machinery systems and scrubbers are no different,” said Arne Hubregtse, executive board member, Spliethoff. “Risks can be mitigated, however, by investing in quality materials, established suppliers and experienced installers, and by optimising machinery space layouts.
“We have installations onboard about 50 vessels in the Spliethoff fleet and to date we have not experienced any corrosion or other significant issues through operating these systems. In addition to the specification of quality materials we recommend experienced installers with good supervision during the installation process.”
Echoing Spliethoff’s experience is Wallenius Wilhelmsen, a shipowner operating a fleet of more than 130 deep sea ro-ro vessels. Roger Strevens, vice president, global sustainability, Wallenius Wilhelmsen, said: “While EGCS failure is not impossible, just as it is with any machinery, we believe we have minimised the risk – particularly of early-onset severe failure – by being very judicious in how we specify the systems and through being particular in who we are getting them from. If you buy cheap, you’ll pay twice!”
Wallenius Wilhelmsen installed its first EGCS in 2014 knowing that, like any first-of-type-installation, there would be the inevitable teething troubles. “We learned a lot from that first installation. The experience proved invaluable to subsequent installations,” added Mr Strevens.
Over 200 scrubbers onboard 83 ships operating under the Carnival Corporation umbrella have also been largely reliable, with Mike Kaczmarek, sr. vice-president marine technology, Carnival Corp, citing over 90 per cent current system availability.
Kaczmarek, CSA 2020’s chairman, said: “We have found EGCS systems are designed for world-wide operations and normally meet or exceed the specification. However, there are a few things to be aware of and, for example, we do recommend that the upper bellows (expansion joints) above the EGCS tower are replaced with a design using upgraded alloys during the installation process. This can help prevent any subsequent corrosion. Selection of quality materials is important.”
Grimaldi Group, which operates four different EGCS over 50 ships and also reports more than 90 per cent reliability, also flags up the bellows as requiring special attention.
Dario Bocchetti, head of the Grimaldi Group corporate energy saving & innovation, said: “The expansion bellows after the scrubber and the exhaust gas line can create problems. It is important to use high quality steel or alloys and make sure anti-corrosion coatings have been properly applied to the discharge outlet. Good specification and subcontractor selection can prevent problems later.”
“By confirming the operational performance of our members’ EGCS installations, we hope to allay any concerns relating to system failure or corrosion,” said CSA 2020 executive director Ian Adams. “The technology, the materials used, and the experienced gained from those first installations means that any corrosion issues can now be readily resolved.”
In November, Danish ferry operator DFDS reported that the downtime experienced with the EGCS installed onboard the 37,939gt roro Ficaria Seaways was less than 0.002 per cent during the 12-month period to 1st July 2019.