Composite scrubber eliminates corrosion worries

Written by Nick Blenkey
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LAB's composite units have been proven over the past three years with thousands of hours of operational service onboard Brittany Ferries' MS Mont Saint-Michel

JUNE 4, 2018 — With a number of shipowners reporting corrosion problems affecting exhaust gas scrubbers, one leading manufacturer is offering an alternative to the high end alloys usual used in these systems.

Lyon, France, headquartered LAB SA, part of the CNIM Group, says shipowners must consider lifecycle costs, including the cost of repairs, maintenance, and shipyard time, as part of the analysis when selecting exhaust gas cleaning, or scrubber, technology.

LAB has pushed the boundaries of flue gas treatment by developing a composite scrubber — available in open, closed or hybrid format — as an alternative to its range of alloy units; providing customers with genuine choice and removing the risk of corrosion.

LAB’s composite units — proven over the past three years with thousands of hours of operational service onboard Brittany Ferries MS Mont Saint-Michel —avoid the potential for unscheduled repairs and downtime, together with associated shipyard costs and the loss of commercial opportunities while the vessel is out of service.

LABandersonNeil Anderson, Director of Marine Technologies, LAB, commented: “With the prime focus understandably on the economics, and the potential financial advantage to be gained from continuing to burn less expensive heavy fuel oil (HFO) instead of the costlier, low sulfur fuel, discussion around the practicalities of design and installation has been muted. However, for those considering scrubbers, it is important to understand the available options in terms of design and materials.”

Neil Anderson, Director of Marine Technologies at LAB

As well as removing the risk of corrosion, LAB’s DeepBlueLAB SOx composite units can be located on deck or around the funnel area, making it easier to install and maintain. Moreover, all engines and the vessel’s boiler can be linked to one scrubber unit, meaning there is less complex piping for installation. The composite material is 20-30% lighter than a similar version made from high-end alloys, reducing load at sea and reducing fuel consumption, while also allowing for a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly recycling processes.

Anderson continued: “While scrubbers do not represent a single solution for the whole of the merchant fleet, for many shipowners, operators and cargo owners it is a viable and commercially compelling option. While there is a tendency to look at scrubber technology as a one-off capital expenditure, it’s essential that the whole life cycle costs are properly considered.”

The corrosion-resistant properties of the composite material makes it a robust and durable long-term solution, while its location can allow for increased accessibility and improved maintenance. The advantages are enhanced further by knowing that the composite unit also allows for more cost-effective and environmentally friendly recycling processes.

LAB says its DeepBlueLAB SOx scrubber is the only system on the market that can be manufactured in either composite or high-end alloys and available as an inline, offline or multi-streaming solution. Although inline systems can only be fitted to one engine, says LAB, offline multi-streaming solutions offer greater flexibility as they ensure that the scrubber can treat multiple engines, including auxiliary engines and boilers.

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