October 28, 2016

SOx scrubbers the best solution to new emissions cap

The UN-backed IMO has set new rules to cut sulfur emissions from ships to 0.5% from 2020. Yara is easing shipowners’ concerns over additional costs by offering a cost-effective solution compared to low-sulfur fuel.
New Yara ammonia ship
New Yara ammonia ship

Yara has welcomed the UN-backed International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) decision to implement its global cap on the Sulphur content of marine fuel.

The regulation – which was ratified on Thursday in London and will come into force in 2020 – requires vessels to burn fuel with a Sulphur content of less than 0.5 percent. Alternatively, owners can install Sox scrubbers, such as those produced by Yara, which remove virtually all Sulphur from the exhaust.

A good day for all of us

SOx scrubber in the Meyer Werft

Head of Industrial, Yves Bonte, said the decision is positive for society, the environment and the industry.

“This is a good day for people all around the world,” he says. “The severe health and environmental damage caused by ship emissions could no longer be ignored. The decision gives shipowners time to comply and although there is a short-term investment, it will make the maritime industry more sustainable and environmentally friendly in the long term,” he said.

“Yara is perfectly positioned with a solution to this problem, and this fits well with our commitment to protecting the planet,” added Bonte.

Studies show Sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions from ship exhausts cause the death of tens of thousands of people each year and undermines efforts to improve crop production, globally.

For these reasons, North America, and parts of Europe and China already demand that ships use fuel with a Sulphur content of 0.1 percent or less – lower than the new IMO regulation.

Under the new rules, only vessels with scrubbers installed will be allowed to have heavy fuel oil in their fuel tanks.

Scrubbers the most cost-effective solution

Dr. Thomas Koniordos, Head of Environmental Solutions said scrubbers are the most cost-effective option because they enable shipowners to continue operating on heavy fuel oil instead of more costly low-sulfur fuels.

“We estimate that the investment in a scrubber is repaid in two to five years, depending on fuel prices and consumption, due to lower operational costs. So any ship with a lifetime of five years or longer will always benefit from such an investment.

“Because they meet the strictest requirements, ships with scrubbers can operate anywhere. They also reduce owners’ exposure to an increased price spread between heavy fuel oil and low-sulfur fuels,” he explained.

In other words, it is likely that the price of these low-sulfur fuels will go up, while cheap heavy fuel oil (HFO) will stay the same. That means shipowners with scrubbers on their ships will benefit even more.

Easier to install, cheaper to operate

Yara has installed over 100 scrubbers (as well as 1500 NOx abatement (SCR) systems) on ships and onshore factories and its system is certified in full compliance with regulatory requirements. Yara offers both bespoke and standardized solutions.

Yara is making scrubbers smaller, easier to install, cheaper to operate, and even offers the ability to combine SOx and NOx reductions technologies on a single vessel. The scrubber system is suitable for any type of vessel and can be retrofitted or installed on newbuilds.

Retrofits can be performed while a vessel is in operation in order to avoid downtime (assuming the vessel has multiple engines). Newbuild installations take a minimum of six months from signature to operation.