Composite scrubbers to tackle lifecycle challenges

Owners should consider all lifecycle costs, not just capex, when choosing a scrubber, says Anderson Owners should consider all lifecycle costs, not just capex, when choosing a scrubber, says Anderson

French equipment manufacturer LAB believes that composite materials offer a solution to installation, maintenance and recycling challenges associated with scrubbers made of metal alloys.

The company, which has operated a composite material scrubber on Brittany Ferries’ Mont Saint-Michel for three years, noted reports of corrosion affecting some alloy scrubber installations. It urged owners to consider the full lifecycle costs – including repair, maintenance and recycling – when choosing exhaust gas cleaning technology.

Neil Anderson, director of marine technologies, LAB, said: “With the prime focus understandably on the economics, 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.”

LAB claims that its DeepBlueLAB SOx scrubber is the only one on the market that can be made from either alloys or composites. Manufacture using composites can enhance the durability of the units and removes the risk of corrosion. The composite version is 20-30% lighter than one made from high-end alloys, reducing load at sea and reducing fuel consumption while allowing for more cost-effective and environmentally friendly recycling processes.

Further benefits of the system include easy installation and maintenance thanks to its location either on deck or around the funnel area, as well as less complex piping by treating all engines and boilers through one multi-stream unit (although multiple inline units can also be offered).

Anderson concluded: “While scrubbers do not represent a single solution for the whole of the merchant fleet, for many ship owners, 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.”

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