Industry Responds to Regulations
The next few years will see some significant changes in emission regulations for shipowners. These include the rules concerning sulphur oxides (SOx) in the form of the 2020 global sulphur cap and nitrogen oxides (NOx) with the establishment of Nitrogen Emission Control Areas (NECAs) in 2021.
Covering the same geographical area as the current North and Baltic Seas Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECA), the NECAs are applicable to newbuild vessels only and, depending on engine size, will lead to reductions in NOx emissions of around 70 per cent. Considering the major engine manufacturers, recent activity has shown that they are gearing up for the 2021 European NECAs.
Volvo Penta, for example, recently introduced its new Tier 3 engine. Initially intended for 13-litre models from 2018, the engine uses Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology for the after-treatment of exhaust gases. Volvo Penta has made additional advances in the field of sustainability with its engines by also allowing operators to select biofuels as a primary fuel choice. By using hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), carbon dioxide and particulate matter emissions can be reduced by up to 90 per cent.
As an American concern, Caterpillar’s attention on EPA legislation has been its driving force behind new products, something that has progressed logically to the IMO.
“We have a complete range of IMO Tier 3 compliant engines, with a main focus on 600 kW and above, but also the smaller engines and generator sets from 130 kW going up to the larger high-speed engines – all certified from the factory,” Peter Snijders, Business Developer at Pon Power, the Caterpillar dealership for the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, said.
The company’s recently introduced 3500E series illustrates the significance of client input when putting a new product together.
“It is very important for us to listen to the voice of business in the product development process. Our customers point out things that are important to them and we use this input for development. A good example of this is fuel optimisation, which leads to lower operation costs.”
Indeed, the new series provides operators with five to seven per cent fuel savings.
“Other feedback comes from analysis of engine use – sailing profiles, average loads and idling behaviour, for example. We track that and share the data with Caterpillar.”
Realistic business case
Other features of Caterpillar’s new engine range are unchanged back pressure – even with its integrated SCR – and its ability to function in a very wide range of operating windows due to skip firing modifications.
“We have also reduced PM [particulate material] emissions by 80 per cent by controlling the combustion temperature. This is particularly significant for improving air quality in urban areas or for yacht owners.”
In the context of the ‘big picture’ of increasing sustainability in the maritime sector, Snijders concludes that Caterpillar’s Tier 3 engines prove that there is a business case for cleaner technology.
“It doesn’t have to mean that you have to add costs. Yes, the initial investment is increased, but the operating costs are reduced. In fact, the best feedback that we have got so far is that we are receiving orders, because that is ultimately our goal – to help customers reduce their operating costs and maximise their uptime.”
Progress on LNG