Emissions pay off

2021-12-06 20:57:00 By : Mr. Eason Hao

Published by the Maritime Executive

Published by the Maritime Executive

Published by the Maritime Executive

Published by the Maritime Executive at 10:40 PM, December 25, 2015

As the long-term project to reduce ship emissions through technological innovation has achieved results, the environmental targets set in ClassNK's industrial joint research and development plan will continue to be achieved in 2015.

ClassNK's industry joint research and development program was launched in 2009 and supports more than 300 projects to solve major challenges facing shipping safety and the environment. According to the legislative timetable, the past 24 months have been particularly fruitful for measures involving ship emissions.

The program supports collaborative research with shipping companies, shipyards and ship equipment manufacturers, covering everything from ship structure and fluid dynamics to hull coating and navigation optimization. However, since the launch of the program, air emissions have been a major issue, and technological innovation represents a way to meet the shipping environmental agenda.  

ClassNK has participated in a series of projects focusing on the development of technologies needed to address NOx and SOx emission limits. These include selective catalytic reduction and exhaust gas recirculation to reduce NOx, exhaust scrubbers to reduce SOx, and dual-fuel engines to minimize both types of emissions when running on gas.  

In recent months, the results of nitrogen oxide emission projects within the framework of the plan have been particularly prominent in the field of two-stroke marine engines. A milestone was reached in August 2015 when a 34,000-dwt bulk carrier owned by Shikishima Kisen KK, the owner of Hakodate Wharf Co., Ltd., became the first ship equipped with a new low-pressure exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system. 

The system was developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Marine Machinery & Engine Co., Ltd. and Mitsubishi Electric Co., Ltd., and is believed to be the world's first low-pressure EGR engine that uses two-stroke marine diesel to recirculate exhaust gas from a turbocharger. Compared with high-pressure EGR systems, low-pressure EGR has lower initial and operating costs.

The low-pressure EGR installed in the Mitsubishi 6UEC45LSE Eco B2 engine complies with IMO's MARPOL Annex VI Tier III requirements. The emission control area of ​​the keel laid on or after January 1, 2016 will reduce the ship’s NOx emissions by 76% (compared with Tier II). Compared). This technology suppresses NOx by changing the characteristics of the engine's combustion conditions. The reduction of oxygen in the scavenging air will lower the combustion temperature, thereby reducing NOx emissions. Part of the discharged low-pressure exhaust gas is recirculated from the turbocharger outlet to the turbocharger inlet, and is post-treated by the EGR scrubber. 

Based on the evaluation of commercial operations, the system will be adopted by NYK Bulk & Projects Carriers Ltd. and deployed in a wider "tertiary market".

In terms of wider two-stroke engine applications, MAN Diesel & Turbo is working with the licensee to develop an EGR system. For example, Kawasaki Heavy Industries is testing a joint emission reduction system including EGR and a water-emulsion fuel system for K-Line's new building of a pure car truck carrier as part of a development project involving shipbuilder Japan Marine United. At the same time, as part of the collaboration with NYK Line and Monohakobi Technology Institute, Mitsui Shipbuilding is developing EGR technology for low-speed engine applications.    

Given that so far only about 15 ships powered by two-stroke engines are equipped with Tier III-compliant equipment, most of which are in the experimental stage, the efforts of ClassNK’s industry joint research and development program in the development of EGR will help ship owners and operators Meeting emission requirements is a very valuable requirement.

Another way to meet Tier III emission limits while sticking to diesel is Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR). SCR is a post-treatment solution that reacts NOx in the exhaust gas by spraying NH3 produced by urea to form H2O and N2 on the surface of the catalyst. 

The joint R&D research project of the industrial plan covering SCR technology includes certification method work, the performance of different types of catalysts, the influence of exhaust gas temperature on the durability of SCR, the sulfur content in fuel oil, NOx test measurement, ammonia escape, installation and operation. In fact. As early as 2011, ClassNK provided an SCR system installation guide, which summarized the standard design specifications for the use of ammonia solution or urea solution as a reducing agent in terms of safety. The association has also issued multiple declarations of conformity for SCR-equipped engines that meet Tier III emission limits. 

MHI-MME already has a low-pressure SCR system for the upstream installation of two-stroke turbochargers, which was developed in the "Ultra-Clean Marine Diesel" research project of the Japan Marine Machinery and Equipment Association (JSMEA). Earlier this year, ClassNK also verified that the SCR system jointly developed by Mitsui OSK Lines, Namura Shipbuilding and Yanmar complies with the Tier III NOx limit and is used for three generators of ocean freighters operated by MOL for demonstration tests scheduled for 2016 . 

At the same time, ClassNK issued a "statement of fact" covering the two-stroke engine equipped with SCR jointly developed by Hitachi Shipbuilding Corporation and engine licensor MAN Diesel & Turbo in 2011. The 6S46MC engine was initially installed on a 38,000-dwt general cargo ship for on-board trials. The Hitachi Zosen solution won the 2014 Ocean Engineering Award from the Japan Ocean Engineering Society on July 27, 2015.

Two-stroke marine engines running on LNG can also meet Tier III requirements, reducing peak temperature and NOx emissions by introducing lean combustion-without SCR or EGR. Wärtsilä developed this type of dual fuel engine. On the other hand, two-stroke dual-fuel engines with high-pressure gas injection (GI) require a combination of SCR and EGR to meet the requirements, because they will generate local high temperature peaks and increase NOx emissions.

If the recent product announcement focuses on the NOx emissions of ships using two-stroke engines, this should not obscure the four-stroke engine market, where the Tier III option is mature. It is estimated that more than 500 ships have already operated in accordance with its regulations. Similarly, the choice of marine diesel engine is EGR or SCR, or the dual fuel/gas method, although in this case, it should be noted that the DF four-stroke that meets the Tier III standard has been commercially available for many years.

At the same time, Niigata Power Systems Co., Ltd. has a complete marine diesel engine SCR system product line. The power range for main propulsion engines ranges from 550 to 6,600 kW. Its first device was delivered nearly 20 years ago. ClassNK recently issued a "statement of fact" that the new compact 28AHX medium-speed marine diesel engine combined with Niigata's SCR system fully complies with IMO NOx Tier III limits. 

As part of the "Ultra Clean Marine Diesel" research project supervised by JSMEA, Niigata's development now focuses on compact SCR design solutions.

In view of the rapidly evolving options, ClassNK is striving to strike a key balance between its in-depth involvement in research and development and its neutrality as a consultant for the technology choices faced by the owners. In short, its key role includes being able to take a step back and make recommendations based on different ship operations, outlining the pros and cons of each option, without worry or favoritism.

The society has noticed that compared with EGR, SCR has a high NOx reduction rate of more than 90% and a lower installation cost, except for large engines, such as VLOC, VLCC or the main engine of large container ships. However, they pointed out that SCR is a space-consuming option, and the solution needs to consider the additional cost of urea, which may be higher than the additional fuel cost of using EGR. SCR operation may also be limited by exhaust gas temperature, which means it may be difficult to operate at low loads. 

ClassNK also weighs the SCR's need for performance checks, intermittent maintenance and even replacement, with the need for EGR to discharge wash water from the scrubber and treat the residues generated by the wash water treatment system.

"In short, whether to choose SCR or EGR to meet the NOx limit is an initial cost issue, but the total cost-effectiveness of the system depends on the size of the engine, the trading area, and the time each ship operates within the ECA," Y. Shibata, General Manager of ClassNK Machinery Department Say.

By 2015, progress in NOx emissions dominated the marine technology news agenda, and before the IMO regulatory review, SOx emissions issues continued to emerge. The review will be completed in 2018, which will determine whether stricter global regulations should be implemented from 2020 or 2025. control. At present, the allowable sulfur content in fuel used outside the emission control area is 3.5%, but the sulfur content in the fuel used in the emission control area is limited to 0.1%, unless alternative emission reduction technologies are used. Starting in 2020 or 2025, the global limit will be reduced to 0.5%. 

However, the choice of technology to meet these requirements is already clear, because it is forced to choose before the deadline for SOx emissions in the ECA in January 2015. Owners operating within the ECA choose to use more expensive fuel grades, although some people choose to continue to use heavy fuel oil (HFO) emission reduction technologies through the Exhaust Gas Cleaning System (EGCS). A few operators took advantage of this opportunity to build new ships, thus switching to the use of natural gas more thoroughly.  

Once broader restrictions are applied, the decision to adopt may change, and ClassNK has been preparing for any situation that might happen.

It released the third edition of its gas fuel ship guidelines in early 2015, and its updated expertise is closely related to the development of industrial joint research and development programs. For example, Niigata completed the development of a small DF engine under this plan in 2012, and Daihatsu completed the development of a four-stroke DF marine engine in 2014.

In terms of gas engines that comply with SOx emission restrictions, ClassNK has also deepened its expertise in the low-speed field. It has been supporting Diesel United Ltd. to develop Wärtsilä-licensed DF engines. Given the growth potential provided by the opportunity to import American shale gas into Japan, the development here seems particularly exciting. The 6-cylinder (X72) Wärtsilä DF engine installed in DU’s Aioi Works began comprehensive testing in February 2015, and it is expected to be suitable for large-scale LNG carriers.  

DU's interest in low-speed DF solutions is also expected to expand its sales activities to engines such as the X62, while focusing on traditional bulk carriers. However, the availability of a sufficient amount of low-sulfur fuel is expected to remain a problem for the entire shipping industry, and the use of exhaust gas scrubbers may become a mainstream solution. To this end, ClassNK issued a new "Exhaust Gas Purification System Guidelines" (EGCS) in October 2014, which was jointly developed with Japan's National Maritime Research Institute (NMRI) to fully explain the content of the IMO guidelines. These cover open-loop and closed-loop EGCS solutions, as well as a hybrid approach using these two solutions.

In this case, ClassNK is once again at the forefront of technological development in terms of EGCS solutions for global shipping. In the industrial joint research and development program, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (MKK) support Japan's first hybrid SOx scrubber system, which has the function of washing fresh water and seawater waste gas. Fresh water systems can wash fuel with a sulfur content of 3.5% to meet the 0.1% sulfur content limit, while seawater systems can wash fuel oil with a sulfur content of 0.5% to meet the expected global limit.

MHI and MKK are installing systems on 7,500 pure automobile truck carriers in a joint project with ClassNK, Kawasaki Steamship Co., Ltd. ("K" line), and Japan Ocean Union. Delivered in 2016. 

ClassNK has always supported the safe installation and operation of the shipboard system, and used the data and experience obtained from the research to support its certification and emission verification activities. 

Therefore, ClassNK once again positions itself as providing detailed advice on the cost calculation of the EGCS option, taking into account the initial expenditure, the estimated savings over time compared to switching to low-sulfur fuels, and the payback period. At the end of 2015, the association pointed out that although the decline in fuel prices poses a challenge to thinking about future investment in the shipping industry, EGCS may be an interesting exception. Although the price of marine fuel oil has declined, the price difference between marine light oil and heavy fuel oil has continued to exist, but has been reduced. Therefore, the principle of the EGCS case itself has not changed.

The smallest wet scrubber in the world

The association is also involved in an interesting EGCS solution project. As part of a joint industrial R&D program worth mentioning separately, Fuji Electric is seeking to develop the world's smallest wet scrubber. The system is characterized by cyclone desulfurization, which was previously deployed in land-based waste gas purification. In the first marine application, it is estimated that it accounted for less than half of the alternatives. The system has been tested on ships, and MW-class SOx scrubbers have been applied to auxiliary engines that meet the specified specifications and performance.

If it is necessary to further prove that ClassNK prioritizes the technological innovation required to limit pollution from ships, it is worth noting that the cooperation projects are extended overseas. NYK Line, MTI, Alfa Laval and ClassNK have already cooperated with Singapore Nanyang Technological University and Sembcorp Marine Technology Pte Ltd. Co., Ltd., researching EGCS technology. In addition, in the memorandum of understanding signed by ClassNK and the Singapore Maritime and Port Authority in early 2015, ship emissions were given priority, covering joint R&D and technological innovation projects centered on Southeast Asia hubs. As the scope of regulations expands, ClassNK will continue to work with partners to help develop innovative solutions for the entire maritime industry.

The views expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of the maritime executive.

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