Skip to main content



Tuesday, January 19, 2021 

Following years of preparation, the global sulphur cap became reality on 1 January 2020. While most of the marine industry recalibrates its fuel use, customers with Alfa Laval PureSOx systems on board are a step ahead. Not only can they continue sailing with economical heavy fuel oil, they can feel confident about t0

More than 10 years ago, the DFDS Ficaria Seaways entered dry dock for an expansion of its cargo space. While the vessel was being rebuilt, a hybrid PureSOx system — able to perform closed-loop as well as openloop scrubbing — was retrofitted to clean the exhaust gas from its 21MW main engine. At the time of the pilot installation, the prospects for SOx scrubbers were anything but certain. “Back in 2009, there were many who questioned the potential of SOx scrubbers,” says Steven Pieters, Sales Director, Exhaust Gas Cleaning at Alfa Laval. “Not everyone was convinced that a scrubber could meet emission limits while operating in a marine environment and there were even deeper doubts about the water cleaning needed for closedloop scrubbing.”


Today, the merits of PureSOx are undeniable, as are those of Alfa Laval’s centrifugal water cleaning system. The PureSOx system on Ficaria Seaways has spent thousands of hours in compliant operation — and is still going strong. In fact, so is every other PureSOx system ever installed. This flawless track record is underpinned by Alfa Laval’s more than 100 years of experience as a marine supplier. Having developed a well-functioning PureSOx production apparatus early on, Alfa Laval has had the resources and ability to scale up manufacturing with retained quality. In combination with the technology itself, this has kept returning customers secure. “The customers who invested in PureSOx before the global sulphur cap were ahead of the curve and today they’re able to take advantage of that fact,” Pieters says. “Our many references have shown time and time again that the technology and its benefits are sound.”


As Pieters indicates, PureSOx has been installed on vessels of nearly every type and size. In the years since 2009, Alfa Laval has successfully completed hundreds of installations, carried out at all major shipyards worldwide. This has created unique insights that are constantly being applied to improve Alfa Laval’s installation processes. “We’ve found that delivering PureSOx scrubbers as prefabricated components and modules is a winning strategy, as it saves time and work on board,” says Pieters. “For faster installation, the scrubber can also be built into a new funnel on the shipyard quay and then simply lifted on board.” Whatever the individual solution, planning and preparation are important. “Each installation has its own challenges,” says Pieters. “To minimise the vessel’s downtime, we usually perform some of the preparations while sailing.”


A vital aspect of reducing downtime, overcoming obstacles and ensuring success, Pieters emphasises, is ensuring tight co-operation between supplier, shipowner, shipyard and any engineering company involved. This is a matter not only of strong documentation, but also of communication and routines. “We appoint a dedicated project manager who takes responsibility for each retrofit,” Pieters says. “It’s important for that person to stay on top of current status and conditions, which is why we emphasise having local project managers who are readily accessible and in easy reach of the yard. Each new project begins with a kick-off phase, where our dedicated project team aligns the goals with the customer. Throughout the project, we have regular status meetings to deal with anything that arises and ensure that everything is moving forward.” By combining such practical measures with smart technical solutions, the total retrofit downtime can generally be limited to 2–4 weeks. “PureSOx customers today are a step ahead from the beginning, because we’ve learned from every installation performed,” Pieters says.


Following installation, Alfa Laval takes responsibility for seeing that PureSOx is compliant, both through commissioning at sea and by facilitating the class and flag state approvals. Just as importantly, the company takes long-term responsibility, helping customers to remain compliant throughout the system lifetime. Alfa Laval’s global service organisation, which offers 24/7 support and access to marine service engineers worldwide, has a comprehensive portfolio of defined PureSOx services. Ranging from sensor exchange to Performance Audits and connectivity, they aim to bring PureSOx customers predictably low costs as well as peace of mind. “Our services for PureSOx are far-reaching and continue to expand,” says Pieters. “Whether physically or digitally, we’re committed to keeping PureSOx customers ahead for as long as they operate their systems.”


Return to index