SAFETY4SEA Team met with Dr. Martin Koller, Product Manager, Air Pollution Control, ANDRITZ during SMM in early September to discuss about scrubbers and what this investment means for the operators. Dr. Koller referred to the key barriers which make operators hesitant to this technology, insisting however that scrubber systems are viable option for compliance with the upcoming regulation. However, he noted, if operators choose scrubbers, they will need to retrofit their ships today in order to get them ready in 2020. For this reason, space and power requirements onboard are important to be evaluated.
SAFETY4SEA: What are the key factors to consider before retrofitting a ship with scrubbers? What are your suggestions to operators?
Martin Koller: One of the most important things when retrofitting a scrubber is to be very sure about the space requirements which are available onboard and also of the power requirements which are very important as well. So if you decide to invest in a scrubber you have to make internal work to evaluate if you have every possible space available or the power available. It would be better to make the work together with an experienced scrubber supplier who should know what are the barriers and the problems.
S4S: What are the key barriers for the operators to invest in scrubbers?
M.K.: For most of the shipowners the problem could be that they are not sure about the technology. They don’t know what is needed. Will they need more staff on the ship, what are the costs that are coming in addition, what about the maintenance and the service? The lack of experience in scrubbers for some shipowners is the most important barrier.
S4S: How do you believe the 2020 sulphur cap will impact the market? Where do the EGCS figures stand at the moment and what is your estimation for the next 5-10 years?
M.K.: The 2020 sulphur cap is a huge investment for the whole industry. Not only for the shipowners who will invest in scrubbers, but also for those who will stay with their existing ships, switching to compliant fuel, because there will be a high addition fuel cost which is necessary after 2020. Our expectation is that the price gap between low and high Sulphur will rise in the first 1-2 years and then maybe it will shrink a little bit. Nevertheless, the invest return for scrubbers will be very low and that means the scrubber business will work until 2025 at least because of this price gap which will always be the key driver for this technology.
S4S: Do you believe that the industry is ready to comply with the new regulations until the given deadline?
M.K.: This is a problem we already see now, because we have a lot of inquiries. They want to install scrubbers in the next year or in 6 months lead time. This is a problem at the moment because 3 times now are increasing to 1 year or even more. For lot of shipowners the timeframe is very short to make decisions. If you want to have your ships ready for 2020 you have to decide now to have an installation in the next year finished. Otherwise you will have to use compliant fuel for the first couple of months and that would not be the best economic solution.
View herebelow video Interview with Dr. Martin Koller, Product Manager, Air Pollution Control, ANDRITZ at SMM 2018, September 4-7, Hamburg, Germany.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.