Ask the expert: Cat fines post-2020

Every month an expert from ExxonMobil answers questions on cylinder lubrication and engine condition. This time, global marine engine builder manager Steve Walker discusses a common concern about the global sulphur cap.

Q. I’ve heard that cat fine issues are likely to increase come the 2020 implementation of the International Maritime Organization’s 0.5% sulphur cap. Is this true?

There is real potential that the cat fine content of some compliant fuels will be high.

The marine industry faced a similar issue when the Emission Control Area (ECA) sulphur cap moved from 1.5% to 1%, and occurs as a result of some of the low sulphur blending components having a high cat fines content. The best defence against the problem will be to purchase fuel from reliable suppliers and continue to follow industry best practise by using the latest ISO 8217 standard.

New bunker deliveries should be put into empty tanks to avoid mixing different fuels as this can cause sludge to form. You should also take time to regularly remove any accumulated deposits from storage, settling and day tanks as rough weather can stir up these sediments, which are likely to contain cat fines.

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