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HFO AVAILABILITY WILL BE LIMITED DESPITE RISE IN SCRUBBER INSTALLATIONS

Friday, October 12, 2018  (Comments: 1)

A white paper published by classification society DNV GL has warned that the availability of high-sulphur fuels could be limited outside the world’s largest bunker ports following the 2020 entry into force of the global sulphur cap.

In its paper Alternative Fuels and Technologies for Greener Shipping, which examines the cost, availability, regulatory challenges and environmental benefits of alternative fuels and technologies, DNV GL suggests the anticipated number of scrubber installations will not be enough to support the wide-spread commercial viability of HFO.

“Assuming an installed base of about 4,000 scrubbers in 2020, no more than 11 per cent of ship fuel usage will be high-sulphur fuel,” DNV GL calculates. “Latest estimates assume that no more than 2,000 scrubber installations will be carried out between now and 2020. This raises the question whether high-sulphur fuel will even be available outside the largest bunkering ports if only 4,000 or even fewer ships will be able to use it. The next question is what the price differential between HFO and compliant fuels will be.”

With sulphur content of ship fuel set to be limited to 0.5% in 2020 and greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced by 50% come 2050, the regulatory landscape will undoubtedly change the future fuel mix dramatically.

The classification society paper points out that, based on 2016 figures, the combined amount of heavy fuel oil and marine gas oil consumed by ships accounts for no more than 25% of total global diesel fuel and petrol production. The energy consumed burning LNG is about 24%, but this represents only a small portion (approximately 10 per cent) of the overall gas market.

A long-time advocate of the use of liquid natural gas as a marine fuel, DNV GL says the burning of LNG, LPG, methanol, hydrogen and biofuels offer more promising solutions, in addition to battery systems, fuel cells and wind-assisted propulsion to offer potential for ship applications.

While DNV GL recognises that unburned methane (methane slip) could reduce the benefit of LNG over HFO and MGO in certain engines – since methane (CH4) has 25 to 30 times the greenhouse gas effect of CO2 – the paper refers to engine builders’ claims that the tank-to-propeller (TTP) CO2-equivalent emissions of Otto-cycle dual-fuel (DF) and pure gas engines are lower than those of oil-fuelled engines.

“Looking ahead, LNG has already overcome the hurdles of international legislation, and methanol and biofuels will follow suit very soon. It will be a while before LPG and hydrogen are covered by appropriate new regulations within the IMO IGF Code as well,” states DNV GL in the paper.

Reader Comments (1)

Looking forward to new developments! Necessity is the mother of invention....this will bring about new technology.

By Sujit Mukherjee on Monday, October 15, 2018

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