DNV GL helps industry prepare for sulphur switch

26 Nov 2014
DNV GL says the fuel change-over could potentially damage equipment, if not handled correctly

DNV GL says the fuel change-over could potentially damage equipment, if not handled correctly

DNV GL has published a guide to the upcoming strict sulphur regulations for ships operating in Emission Control Areas (ECAs) in a bid to help shipowners avoid potential difficulties with the fuel change-over needed.

From 1 January 2015, vessels operating in ECAs will have to use fuel that does not contain more than 0.10% sulphur. Marine Gas Oil (MGO) is currently the most viable, but in its Sulphur Limits 2015 – Guidelines to ensure Compliance, DNV GL says switching isn’t as simple as it seems and has developed a ship-specific Fuel Change-Over Calculator (FCO) to help shipowners and operators determine the ideal parameters for their vessel.

“Taking into account variables such as a vessel’s fuel system layout, any constraints on temperature and the variable sulphur content of fuels, the FCO Calculator can significantly reduce the risk of human error during the preparation of the change-over process,” said Jörg Lampe, senior project engineer, risk and safety, systems engineering, DNV GL.

The software uses a complex numerical simulation that is said to be more accurate than previous linear models and delivers insight into the optimised lead time for the change-over process, its costs and the maximum hourly consumption to meet constraints.

“This kind of data ensures a cost-efficient, reliable fuel change-over and can also help demonstrate compliance for the respective authorities,” Mr Lampe added.

The temperature and viscosity of the two fuels as well as potential incompatibilities are critical to performing the change-over procedure successfully, says DNV GL. AS HFO’s and MGO’s operating temperature differs by around 100 degrees Celsius, the company says the change-over may cause a rapid fall in temperature and increase the danger of thermal shock to the equipment.

Fuel systems also have to account for their difference in viscosity during operation, according to the new guide, in order to avoid fuel pump failures and leakages.

DNV GL highlights that such problems can be avoided by preparing detailed guidelines for the change-over and training crews appropriately.

The new Guidelines are available online.

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