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SCRUBBERS BETTER THAN LSFO FOR ENVIRONMENT, SAYS WÄRTSILÄ

Tuesday, September 22, 2020 

Wärtsilä is drawing customers' attention to a recent report from independent research and consultancy organisation CE Delft, regarding the climate impact of exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCs, or scrubbers).

The report compares the results to the use of low-sulphur marine fuels, from a well-to-wake perspective, in order to achieve an accurate comparison.

Jan Othman, Wärtsilä VP Exhaust Treatment, said: “Wärtsilä has consistently demonstrated its commitment to minimising the marine sector’s carbon footprint. This shows not only in our products and systems, but also in our manufacturing and production processes. We are delighted that this independent report confirms that when taking all things into consideration, our EGCs create less CO2 emissions than the use of sulphur-compliant fuel.”

The report concludes that the environmental impact of scrubbers will be less than that of low-sulphur marine fuel (LSFO). It notes that CO2 emissions associated with producing and installing an EGC system are small compared to those generated when operating the system. The CO2 emissions are mainly related to the energy demand of the system’s pumps, which typically result in a total increase in CO2 emissions of between 1.5% and 3%.

By contrast, with de-sulphurised fuels the overall CO2 footprint increase is a result of the refining processes. Theoretical calculations range from an increase in CO2 emissions of 1% to as much as 25% when removing the sulphur content of the fuel. The report states that while the lower figure is not in fact physically possible, the higher percentage increase is applicable only to a quality of fuel that is too high for marine applications. The conclusion, therefore, is that the CO2 emissions associated with the production of low-sulphur marine fuels will be between these extreme values, as illustrated in the graph.

“This study provides a comprehensive overview of the climate impacts of different options to reduce sulphur emissions. It shows that in many cases, the carbon footprint of using a scrubber is lower than low-sulphur fuels,” said Jasper Faber, Project Manager, CE Delft.

Research has indicated that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from shipping have increased by more than 10% in the last five years. These emissions are projected to increase by up to 50% by 2050, which means that if the IMO target to significantly lower the industry’s GHG emissions is to be achieved, scrutiny of all aspects of shipping is necessary. Reducing CO2 emissions whilst complying with the IMO’s MARPOL Annex VI is one such important aspect.

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