Tech: the Scrubber System

As part of MSC Cruises’ drive to improve environmental performance across the fleet, in 2015 MSC Fantasia was the first Company’s ship to be retrofitted with hybrid Yara Marine Technologies’ SOx exhaust gas cleaning systems at Fincantieri Shipyard of Palermo, Italy.

Currently, 12 ships in MSC Cruises’ fleet of 17 ships are equipped for cleaner emissions with hybrid (closed-loop) EGCS. The line’s five other ships will be retrofitted with the technology by the end of 2023 and until then will rely on the use of low sulphur fuels to always fully comply with the strictest existing as well as new maritime regulations.

How does the scrubber works

In a closed loop scrubber system, the exhaust gas enters the scrubber and is sprayed with sea water that has been mixed with caustic soda (NaOH). The sulphur oxides in the exhaust react with this mixture and are neutralised. A small bleed-off is extracted from the closed loop and treated to fulfil IMO requirements. Cleaned effluents can be safely discharged overboard with no harm to the environment.

Why use the scrubber system

According to the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) maritime laws, ships are required to reduce their Sulphur Oxides (SOx) emission in certain waters in the world. These areas are called emission control areas (ECA) or SOx emission control areas (SECA). From 2015 the allowable SOx emission in these areas can not exceed 0,1%.

Authorities around the world are addressing the negative effects from SOx emissions as it’s a known cause of concern for both human health and the disruption of the world’s eco systems. In October 2016, the IMO decided to further tighten the regulations on SOx emissions, and from 2020 a global 0,5% limit will take effect. The ECA emission regulations will remain unchanged on 0,1%.

Feasibility studies have shown that there is sufficient supply of required fuel oil and suitable exhaust gas cleaning technologies (SOx scrubbers) to help all vessels comply with the global legislation.

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