Marine scrubber systems could become mainstream in the shipping industry
Climate change has proven to be one of the major threats to the global ecosystem, compelling governments worldwide to take proactive measure to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions emitted from numerous industries. Specifically targeting the shipping sector, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) have recently laid down stern regulations to lower sulfuric oxide emission from the marine sector. According to an official report, emissions from global shipping industry are expected to increase by 50%-250% by 2050.
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In a bid to circumvent this, regulations laid by IMO focus on lessening GHG emissions from international shipping at its earnest, subsequently cutting total annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by the year 2050. Adoption of technologies like marine scrubber systems could effectively help the shipping industry meet these emission regulations and standards.
A recent study published by DNV GL (Low Carbon Shipping Towards 2050) highlights that marine scrubbers could be a financially attractive option for complying with the upcoming 0.5% global fuel sulfur cap in 2020. Scrubbers are commonly fitted in ships that seek to comply with emissions regulations. The technology enables vessels to consume cheaper HSFO (high-sulfur fuel oil) while complying with mandated emissions levels.
Vessels that utilize scrubbing technology can consume high-sulfur fuel at a significant discount to low-sulfur fuel that costs more given to their high demand. It is estimated that global marine scrubber systems market size could reach USD 7 billion in annual value by 2026.
Heightening significance of dry marine scrubbers
Dry marine scrubbers are widely being embraced in the shipping industry because of its positive impact on the environment. As the name implies, dry scrubber systems don’t use water as a scrubbing material, instead they remove hazardous substances like sulphur dioxide from exhaust gas by employing solid lime as an alkaline scrubbing material.
Unlike wet scrubbers, dry scrubbing technology does not transfer pollutants from air to water, instead they react with the solid media to form a byproduct that can later be reused as a raw material for cement & steel making, for high-temperature desulfurization at power plants, or as a fertilizer. Additionally, dry scrubber systems utilize less power compared to wet systems and operate at a comparatively high temperature, potentially burning off any soot and oily residues in the system.
Imposition of the IMO 2020 regulations has encouraged several marine scrubber system manufacturers to develop improve dry scrubbing systems. In 2019, Solvay launched SOLVAir Marine, a SOx scrubber system designed to abide by the IMO 2020 regulations and beyond. The scrubber systems is claimed to be capable of removing 99% of particles without the release of wastewater back to the sea.
However, there are certain drawbacks of dry scrubber systems, some of which include requirement for significant onboard space to handle dry bulk reactants and products, and availability of adequate supply of reactants. Given to such aspects, some shipping companies are considering gravitating towards hybrid scrubber systems.
Rise in demand for hybrid systems could encourage industry players to partner with shipping firms. In 2020, Valmet inked a supply contract with Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. Shimonoseki Shipyard to offer hybrid scrubber systems to two ferries. Reportedly, the scrubber solution would include the company’s automation system, Valmet DNA, that is designed to optimize emission and energy efficiency.
Ship building activities on a rise
A noteworthy shift towards green shipping and surge in ship building activities, majorly across countries like Japan, South Korea and China, could boost the demand for marine scrubbers. Huge investment are being injected in the shipping industry to boost the development of sustainable technologies and solutions.
According to the Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) Global Cruise Industry Environmental Technologies and Practices Report, the cruise industry is making significant advancements toward the development of technologies and practices to achieve greater efficiency and lower emissions. The report further states that the cruise industry has injected over US$23.5 billion in ships that use cleaner fuels and new technologies.
The global maritime transport industry has meanwhile submitted a proposal to the IMO to form the world’s first collaborative shipping R&D program that aims at eliminating CO2 emissions from international shipping. The proposal composes of core funding of about US$5 billion over a 10-year period from shipping companies worldwide.
In essence, growing GHG emissions worldwide are expected to be one of the major factors that would support the supply and demand for marine scrubber systems. These systems can not only reduce SOx emissions from marine fuel but also help shipping companies save cost on low-sulfur fuels. The IMO 2020 regulations and other emissions goals set by governments worldwide could offer a significant boost to marine scrubbers manufacturers, consequently expanding its overall market outlook.