The Economic and Environmental Cases for Marine Exhaust Gas Scrubbers

Marine-Exhaust-Gas-ScrubbersChris Leigh-Jones published in a comprehensive article on marine exhaust gas scrubbers as a means to achieving compliance with the stringent, new MARPOL regulations in effect in the North American and Caribbean ECAs and the North Sea Baltic.

Since early 2015, he says, ship operators have been faced with two options: To use more costly cleaner fuel, or fit scrubber technology onboard the vessel with the capability to comply with the new regulations.

The note discusses de advantages of marine exhaust gas scrubbers from an economic standpoint as well as from an environmental one.

On the economics:

[…] seawater scrubbing can offer many operators, owners and charterers continuity, assurance and value, as well as saving millions of dollars to boot; factors banks used to espouse. For owners looking at fuelling their fleet for the next 20 years of operation in an ECA, the maths is simple. The decision is based on assessing the premium paid for either 1% sulphur intermediate fuel oil (IFO), from 2010 to 2015 and marine diesel oil (MDO) or marine gasoil (MGO) in a 0.1% ECA thereafter, and comparing that premium to the cost of fitting a scrubber.

He also presents a series of comparative charts showing the advantages of retrofitting vessels with marine exhaust gas scrubbers instead of paying the premium fuel prices.

Marine exhaust gas scrubber technology, Mr. Leigh-Jones says, helps reduce NOx and particulate emissions. It also limits ozone production, he adds.

Settling the economic argument, he then proceeds to build an environmental case for marine exhaust gas scrubbers.

With average SOx levels from ships currently 250 times more than the world’s car fleet and reportedly killing 60,000 people prematurely annually, the need for an overhaul of ship fuelling becomes clear. Clearer still when the impact of shipping’s particulate levels are added to the equation; a deadly pollutant – almost eliminated by scrubbing – that is also contained in distillates.

There are other concerns emerging about the damage caused by soot, or black carbon, from ships traversing northern sea lanes. When the Arctic snow melts, it exposes dark land below it, further accelerating regional warming. […]

The jury has spoken.

You can read the full article here.

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