ICS and ECSA have jointly issued a guide to give assistance to ship owners, operators and crew to prepare for the changes in fuel characteristics and compliance with the new sulphur limits for ships fuel used in in Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECA) as of January 1, 2015.
Furthermore, they have recently issued a paper to give an overview of the ‘fuel changeover’ issues and challenges as they affect ECA- SOx compliance. This overview of the key technical and operational aspects faced by ships when undertaking fuel changeover on entering an ECA-SOx is intended to provide competent authorities with an insight into the particular issues and challenges of that process when assessing compliance with the EU Sulphur Directive 2012/33/EC
There are a number of technical and operational issues related to the use of these LSDFO type fuels in marine systems, however in terms of the changeover process itself and the demonstration of compliance the following would be identified as the
- Flushing through of the fuel oil service system
- High fuel temperature changes
- HSRFO pick up from dead end pockets
- Cleaning action mobilising deposits
- Flushing time
Managing the changeover transition
Maine diesel engine fuel oil injection systems generally use ram type pumps to provide the injection pressures required. These pumps seal solely by the tightness of fit between the plunger and the pump barrel which, by virtue of the fuel oil’s viscosity, restricts flow between these components.
Furthermore that tightness has to be managed across the operating temperature range – too tight and the pump will seize / too loose and the fuel oil flow will be such that the required injection pressure will not be generated – in either case the engine will not run with all the attendant consequences whether it is a main, propulsion, engine or an auxiliary, electrical power generating, engine.
Therefore an essential part of the changeover process is to manage the transition of the temperature of both the fuel oil and injection system components so that the required viscosity is maintained and the thermal expansion of the components is uniform.
Summary of changeover risks and consequence
Further details may be found by reading ECSA, ICS paper here
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