CSA: restricting scrubbers will delay shipping’s move towards carbon neutrality 

CSA: restricting scrubbers will delay shipping’s move towards carbon neutrality 

The Clean Shipping Alliance has voiced its concerns around a vote that took place that encourages EU Member States to restrict open-loop Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS).

A decision made at the Transport Committee of the European Parliament will restrict the use of EGCS, also known as scrubbers, without any scientific basis.

“Restricting scrubbers purely as a precaution makes no sense and will slow the path to carbon neutral shipping,” said Poul Woodall, executive director of the Clean Shipping Alliance that represents over 30 shipping companies.

“We understand the drive towards carbon neutral shipping, and shipping companies who are members of the CSA stand behind that ambition.

“But to recommend a restriction on the use of EGCS – a technology that is already putting shipping on the right path towards carbon neutrality – with fundamentally no supporting scientific evidence is only halting the progress we have made so far,” continued Mr Woodall.

A recent CE Delft study found the increase in CO2 footprint from the additional refining of MGO to likely be in the range of 10-15 per cent and potentially as high as 25 per cent. By contrast, the increased CO2 from EGCS is only in the range of 1.0-1.5 per cent. Furthermore, EGCS technology achieves much lower sulphur (SOx) output than required by the more stringent IMO requirements in effect since 1 January 2020.

This means that EGCS has helped ships to achieve much lower CO2 and SOx targets.

“Now that the European Parliament’s TRAN Committee ‘calls on the Commission… to implement on the basis of an impact assessment, a gradual phase-out of the use of open-loop scrubbers’, they will need to provide solid scientific and evidence-based arguments to the IMO, the shipping industry and citizens.”

The CSA expects that an objective risk assessment will only lead to a stronger confirmation of the effectiveness of EGCS, as explained by Mr Woodall.

“The CSA once again emphasises that years of testing, analyses and operations have shown that these exhaust gas cleaning systems provide a significant improvement in shipping’s air emissions quality without any negative impact on the marine environment.”