Alfa Laval previews new environmental offerings

Malcolm Latarche
Malcolm Latarche

19 June 2018

With the shipping industry facing two imminent deadlines over the next 18 months and through to 2024 in meeting the 2020 SOx emission rules and complying with the ballast water convention, Alfa Laval will be launching new products and upgrading existing versions with new launches promised at SMM later this year.

With regard to ballast water treatment, the company has already achieved US type approval and the new G8 type approval for its PureBallast 3 system. Building on this and planning to challenge the view that only electrochemical systems are suited to high flow rates, the company has developed a new 1,500m3/hr reactor which will be available later this year. Since it is a scaled version of existing variants, obtaining US type approvals should not be an issue.

At present the largest reactors available for the Alfa Laval system are 1,000m3/h versions so the 1500 m3/h reactor will mean a reduction in the number of reactors used by PureBallast 3 for large flows. A 3000 m3/h system will be achieved with just two reactors while other system flows will go from two reactors to one. This should allow for lower costs for larger vessels due to reduced components and less need to over-dimension systems. The company suggests that as well as cost savings, time needed for installations could fall by as much as 20%.

In addition to the larger version, the company has also developed a computer-based training product to meet the need for improved understanding of ballast treatment needed. PureBallast 3 CBT is an online/offline training tool that serves as a complement to crew training on board or at training centres. Combining self-study, a 3D computer simulator and a final self-assessment, it allows masters and crews to become familiar with the components of Alfa Laval PureBallast 3 and the basics of its operation. The training is available 24/7 and can be incorporated into existing e-learning portfolios and certification programmes.

The training package begins with self-study about the problem of invasive species and ballast water management, as well as PureBallast 3 components and operation. This knowledge can then be strengthened using the 3D simulator, which gives crew members a practical familiarity with PureBallast 3 and its integration with the vessel’s piping and tanks. Trainees can explore and operate the computer-simulated PureBallast 3 system, learning how to start processes and attend to alarms.

On emissions technology, Alfa Laval is one of the leading scrubber suppliers and sees the interest in systems increasing as 2020 approaches. Although the number fitted in advance of the 2020 date may be below initial expectations some owners may install later when the picture with regards to fuel mix available after 2020 is clearer.

In conjunction with one of its major clients, Alfa Laval is exploring the benefits of connectivity in scrubber operation. The Grimaldi Group has been using PureSOx for exhaust gas cleaning aboard its vessels since 2014. ACL, a Grimaldi Group company has hybrid PureSOx scrubber systems installed on all five of its Generation 4 (G4) vessels which will soon be retrofitted with the Alfa Laval Remote Emission Monitor (ALREM), a data reporting and storage device that forms the basis for the growing PureSOx connectivity programme. The Grimaldi Group has signed an agreement for PureSOx connectivity that extends over the next three years, after which the services and their benefits will be evaluated.

“We are eager to start taking advantage of connectivity with our PureSOx systems,” says Pierluigi Marmo, Technical Manager of the ACL G4 vessels. “Alfa Laval provides us with good service already, but the customized connectivity services will increase our own insight and give us even greater access to the Alfa Laval service organization.”

As well as proving compliance, the ALREM system will report the values of SOx emissions, PH values of wash water and other operating parameters and in case of non-compliance with MARPOL regulations will allow advice to be given on any changes necessary to the system operation. Information on sulphur content of the fuel will need to be input manually based on information in the bunker delivery note. If the system’s output data varies from what may be expected, it could suggest that the fuel be analysed for compliance.

Dealing with new fuels and EGR

The new 2020 rules on sulphur levels also have implications for dealing with NOx emissions on vessels that make use of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR). EGR systems also have their own scrubbing systems that use water to remove some of the sulphur oxides and other contaminants before the exhaust gas is recirculated. Most of the systems currently in use have been configured to deal with the higher sulphur levels permitted in HFO through until 2020.

For the future, Alfa Laval’s PureNox system will be offered in two variants; one for the new low sulphur fuels and the other for ships with scrubbers that can also run on high sulphur fuels. PureNOx LS, which will be used with EGR engines running on low-sulphur fuel, will clean the EGR bleed-off water before overboard discharge in accordance with the upcoming MEPC resolution on EGR guidelines. Based on experience from years of real-life operation, MAN Diesel & Turbo has determined that EGR process water cleaning is not necessary when low-sulphur fuel is used. This allows for a PureNOx LS setup that is much like a bilge water system, where the centrifugal separator is combined with an oil monitor and a three-way valve.

For ships operating on high sulphur fuels, EGR process water will be cleaned by PureNOx HS in combination with a SOx scrubber. In PureNOx HS, the separator will be combined with an initial filter stage to remove the worst process water contaminants. Heavier particles will be separated from the bleed-off water prior to discharge through the SOx scrubber system, again in line with the pending EGR guidelines.

A further benefit of both systems will be the ability to support operation in Eco EGR mode. Eco EGR is an additional engine mode in which EGR is used for Tier II as well as Tier III compliance. When Eco EGR is employed for Tier II, the EGR system will both reduce NOx formation and result in claimed fuel savings.