NEARLY 300 ships have been either retrofitted or constructed with exhaust gas scrubbers according to the latest data from DNV GL. The majority, over two thirds, have had systems retrofitted. The rest are newbuildings.
The 0.1% sulphur in fuel rules for vessels operating in the world’s emission control areas, and the now confirmed global sulphur reduction in 2020 to 0.5%, have both put focus on means of compliance.
While many owners will opt to purchase low sulphur fuels to meet the regulatory requirements, there is interest in installing either scrubbers, or engines that can run off liquid natural gas, as LNG is almost sulphur free. With scrubbers installed, a vessel can burn high sulphur fuels, but the exhaust will have a sulphur content equivalent to regulated percentage limits.
While both solutions, scrubbers and LNG, require additional capital investment, there is the potential that both LNG and regular fuel oils will be significantly cheaper than distillate or low sulphur fuels which tend to have a premium.
The DNV GL report also shows that up to 160 vessels could have been or are about to be built with gas propulsion. The largest uptake has been in the cruise ship and passenger ferry sector, where about 120 vessels have had or will have scrubbers and the number of gas powered vessels will soon reach 50.
Last week DNV GL told fathom that there have been 100 LNG powered vessels delivered, and the total orderbook is also about 10o vessels.