What challenges may be expected with IMO 2020 Sulfur Cap comming in force 1 January 2020? How can we be prepared?

27 Sep '19, 11:57

Sept. 27, 2019, 11:57 a.m.
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Several challenges and problem fields can be expected with changing over to fuels with maximum Sulfur content of 0.5%.

Bunkering challenges

  • Compatibility between different bunker supplies could be problematic
  • No comingling of different bunkers should take place. Keep the different batches of 0.5% Compliant Fuels segregated as far as practicable. This may be difficult for vessels with only 2 big bunker tanks
  • Diligent pre-planning will be required between all parties to ensure minimum comingling
  • Compatibility test kits advised to be supplied to ships and spot test to be done onboard to provide an indication of incompatibility
  • It may be expected that new fuels may have stability issues

Extra Testing may be required

  • Reserve Stability Number (RSN) – also known as Separability Number (SN)
  • Total Sediment Potential (TSP) test indicates the amount of sediment present in Fuel Oil.
  • Reserve Stability Number (RSN) will indicate the likelihood that this sediment will flocculate and form sludge. RSN can identify potentially troublesome fuels (unstable) even when the TSP is indicating a low sediment content. It may indicate, as well, that a high sediment fuel is in fact quite stable and unlikely to form sludge.
  • Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) Test, used to quantify the chemical components present in the bunker fuels
  • Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) Screening, used to identify solids, FAME, organic, inorganic & polymer materials in fuels

RSN Test should be carried out as standard for all 0.5% compliant fuels. GCMS & FTIR tests may be necessary for fuels, which suspected to be of bad quality.

Fuel treatment by additives:

Additives from the various makers (Aderco, Innospec, Wilhelmsen, etc.) are available for new 0.5% compliant fuels. It is recommended to keep basic stock on board for most probable fuel quality issues.

Extra attention to heating:

  • 0.5%S VLSFOs expected to have higher paraffinic content
  • Steam Tracing to be switched onto ensure uninterrupted operation of fuel transfer system
  • Fuel to be stored at a temperature that is at least 10°C above Pour Point to reduce the risk of wax formation
  • Kept fuel at a temperature above its Cold Filter Plugging Point throughout its flow in filters and separators
  • Maintain sufficient temperature for separation of water from the fuel when in settling and service tanks

Purification chanllenges

  • Extra attention to be paid to the Fuel Oil Purifiers maintenance
  • Ensure the most efficient fuel purification for removal of catfines
  • Keep the minimum throughput basis consumption
  • Maintain purification temperature of 98 deg C
  • Choose appropriate gravity discs
  • Utilize the second purifier (if available) for parallel/sequence operations

Careful filtration

  • Ensure adequate filtration of the fuel supplied to engines to achieve the reliability of the operation
  • Increase the frequency of cleaning fuel system filters – both manual and automatic filters
  • Installation of 10 microns automatic backflush filter just before the engine should be carried out

Proper Viscosity at the engine inlet

  • Correct injection viscosity recommended by engine makers (usually 2cSt) must be ensured
  • Wide variation in new 0.5% compliant fuels viscosity should be expected (30cSt to 300+ cSt)
  • Viscometers must be properly serviced and calibrated
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27 Sep '19, 12:29

Sept. 27, 2019, 12:29 p.m.
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