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Owners face complexities with new technologies and emissions regulations

Owners face complexities with new technologies and emissions regulations
Emissions from shipping have levelled out in recent times but shipowners still require to fit new technologies to meet upcoming regulations, a journey that is not always an easy one as delegates at the global maritime environmental congress (gmec) heard on Tuesday.

Pierre Sames, director of technology and R&D at DNV GL told the conference: "Just recently, the IMO's third greenhouse gas (GHG) study has show that shipping emissions have not increased over the past couple of years. At the some time, global emissions of CO2 have increased, so shipping's share has essentially gone down."
"We see that in particular for tankers emissions have gone down, but for bulkers and containers it has almost remained flat. What is important here is that operational matters played a larger role than design issues. What we see is that we have an increased installed power base and increased fleet capacity, but it is underutilised, so there is a high latent potential for emissions if the fleet would just work as it has been built to do."
Future emissions from shipping are closely tied to economic growth, but one area where changes are being made now is in sulphur emissions.
Carnival UK's Donnacha O’Driscoll, svp technical operations, Carnival UK, outlined how the cruise shipping giant approached ECA requirements for its fleet, which comprises diverse ships of a range of ages from different yards, using different engine technologies.
"We made a strategic decision that we would use exhaust gas cleaning, as our strategy for 2015 and 2020. Something that became very obvious to us from the outset of the journey is that there were very few suppliers out there, and that the standard technology would not physically fit aboard our ships. It would be great to say that we could engineer it out in newbuilds, but with a fleet of over 100 ships it was a challenge we had to tackle."
"At the start of the journey we had to engage the classification societies, but the first response was that this was new to them as well, so we started the journey together."
In the end Carnival decided on a system whereby the scrubbers would have to fit within the space currently occupied by the exhaust silencers, that they would have to perform the same sound attenuation as the silencers, and that they must be weight neutral to the silencers.
Carnival learned that the installation of scrubbers has a huge impact on operations, with necessary sea chests, massive engineering in restricted spaces and the installation of stacks either in one piece, or in a "flat pack" set of sections where appropriate. Difficulties were also found with the rules themselves, "The legislation for us an an operator is not very user friendly. What's coming from the IMO in the area of ph levels for instance is quite challenging because its open to interpretation and in its infancy."
A similar arena where early adopters are taking the lead and learning alongside the equipment manufacturers is LNG, a competing technology for reducing sulphur emissions to bring shipowners in line with ECA limits that come into force in 2015.
Richard Bowcutt, senior vice president - business development and marketing, Rolls-Royce stated: "You are going to have to do something at some point, sitting there hoping that regulations go away isn't really an option. There is a complex stream of different technologies that require different solutions but regulation is going to happen, it is coming, and it is coming at a pace."
"The first question when it comes to LNG is always 'where the hell am I going to get it?' and what we are starting to see is a greater uptake in the availability of LNG now."
Bowcutt gave examples in both China and Europe, where adoption of LNG infrastructure has gained political support, and plans are already in motion. Rolls-Royce has been involved in a number of LNG projects, including the Fjordline LNG cruise ferry and others, where ship operators are already reaping the benefits of LNG as a fuel.
Despite his enthusiasm for LNG as a marine fuel, Bowcutt admitted that LNG is not always the best solution for every scenario and region, and that projects are taken on a case by case basis.
LNG puts forward a strong case on emissions to air, but Sames did warn that the uptake in the use of the fuel is leading to an increase in methane emissions through slippage. Session chairman Katherina Stanzel of Intertanko added that there was further risk of methane emissions exist in the supply chain through venting and leaking.