Image: Scrubbers and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR)

Scrubbers and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR)

Reduce emissions of pollutants from ships

Maritime scrubbers and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) installations are technologies that are used to reduce the emissions of pollutants from ships.

Maritime scrubbers are air pollution control devices that remove pollutants from the exhaust gases of ships by washing them with a liquid spray. These pollutants, including sulfur dioxide (SO2), can be harmful to human health and the environment. Scrubbers work by spraying a solution of seawater onto the exhaust gases, which causes the pollutants to react and form solid particles that can be easily separated. The resulting clean exhaust gases can then be released into the atmosphere.

SCR Installations

SCR installations, on the other hand, use a catalytic process to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from ships. An SCR system injects a solution of ammonia into the exhaust gases, which then react with the NOx to form nitrogen and water vapor. The reaction takes place on a catalyst, which speeds up the process and increases the efficiency of the reduction.

Both maritime scrubbers and SCR installations are considered effective methods for reducing emissions from ships, but they have different strengths and weaknesses. Scrubbers are typically more effective at removing SO2, while SCR systems are better at reducing NOx. However, scrubbers can be more complex and costly to install and maintain than SCR systems.

As the international maritime regulation is tightening on the sulfur emission limit, many ships are expected to install scrubber systems in order to comply with the regulations, however, the installation of scrubbers has also caused some concern as the washwater may contain high levels of pollutants and can be harmful if released into the ocean.

Challenges Retrofit Scrubber Units in existing vessels

Retrofitting scrubber units in existing vessels can present several challenges. For example: the limited space available on the vessel. Scrubber units take up a significant amount of space and may not fit in the existing design of the ship. Additionally, retrofitting a scrubber unit can be a complex and time-consuming process, requiring the ship to be taken out of service for an extended period. Retrofitting scrubber requires technical expertise and experience. 

Track record retrofit scrubber unit

Vuyk Engineering Rotterdam has a proven track record when it comes to retrofitting scrubber units in existing ships. In doing so, challenges are always there: available engineering information can be very limited, the ship cannot be visited due to location of operation or transit until the start of the retrofit.  Limited engineering information, location of the ship and already existing piping, components and systems can be limiting factors, but thanks to close cooperation with our customers, our Vessel Design and Conversion department successfully completed multiple conversions. 

In case of limited information, 3D scanning techniques can be used as a means of mapping in detail the entire actual environment in which the installations will be installed. Vuyk also has good experience with these technologies.

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