DISCOVER Magazine #6

Scrubber solutions for the IMO 2020 Global Sulphur Cap

Published in category: Green
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GRE explained

Scrubber installations require a considerable amount of piping skills. To this end, Damen uses GRE (glass fibre reinforced epoxy) piping. “This is an important part of a scrubber retrofit. GRE has a lot of benefits over steel or galvanised piping. It is lighter, the diameters can be smaller, and having these skills in-house gives a lot of advantages. Our Harbour & Voyage teams can go anywhere in the world to carry out these specialised piping connections,” says Stef Loffeld, Project Manager Services, Damen Green Solutions “This matches our ‘follow the ship’ mentality.”

The global shipping industry is set to become much cleaner within a couple of years. This is due to new IMO regulations, taking effect from 1st January 2020, which will see the implementation of a global 0.5 percent sulphur cap on vessel emissions. In order to comply with the new regulations, shipowners are faced with two choices.

The first option entails switching from conventional heavy fuel oil (HFO) to more expensive low-sulphur fuels. The second option involves exhaust gas cleaning systems; by installing a ‘scrubber’ that removes SOx from emissions, a vessel can continue sailing with the cheaper, and more accessible, HFO.

Clever combo

With an ‘old-school’ way of thinking, the installation of a scrubber is a process that usually takes a number of weeks. During this time the vessel comes into dock, and is therefore inactive and non-profitable. To combat this inefficiency, a smart combination of two Damen companies ensures that scrubber installation can take place in a matter of days instead of weeks. Damen Green Solutions has teamed up with Damen Shiprepair Harbour & Voyage (DSHV) to offer a true ‘one-stop-shop’.

“We handle all aspects of a scrubber retrofit project – from the initial 3D scanning on-board, engineering, purchase and supply of equipment, all the way to installation, Class approval and commissioning,” says Stef Loffeld, Project Manager at Damen Green Solutions. “And, in order to keep the whole process financially attractive, our number one aim throughout is to maximise a vessel’s uptime.”

Preparation is the key

This is where the expertise of DSHV comes in. Part of Damen Shiprepair & Conversion, this is a dedicated team of people who have the skills to take on the same activities as one of Damen’s ship repair yards. “The only difference is that we do all this when the ship is operational. We work around the ship’s normal routine; during sailing or when a vessel is loading or unloading in port,” explains Ton van Tour, Senior Project Manager at DSHV.

This way of working is inherently flexible. “Depending on the client’s wishes and operations, we can find a window of opportunity to carry out our work,” Ton notes. He uses a recent project to illustrate this point: “This particular vessel had a layover every weekend. So we used these weekends to complete all the preparation work for the scrubber installation. This included constructing the scrubber foundations and associated piping and electrical works, and a deck-based module to hold auxiliary equipment such as pumps, heat exchangers and separators.” Once the preparatory work is complete, installation of the scrubber can take place from the dockside in a process that typically takes about three days.

“We have the knowledge to set-up ‘service hubs’ anywhere in the world – including at non-Damen locations,” says DSHV Project Manager GRE Ronald Hofstede who is licensed by NOV FGS to train pipefitters in the assembly of Bondstrand GRE pipe systems and submit certificates to the persons involved. “This allows us to quickly set up installation facilities where and when required on a global basis.”

Follow the ship

The efficiency of this working method can also be seen in the supply of the scrubber. Stef explains: “Our partner VDL AEC Maritime prefabricates the scrubber from standard modular components while the vessel is still operational. This allows us to install their IMO-certified scrubber system with minimal downtime, while keeping costs to a minimum.”

Stef is keen to point out the broad scope of Damen’s scrubber solutions, especially in light of the sheer geographical scale of international shipping. “The owner and his contracts determine where a vessel sails. It is our job to follow their planning, wherever that may take us. And we can provide that global coverage. And considering the tight deadline, if vessel owners wants to comply by the first of January 2020, then they need to talk to us sooner rather than later.”

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