Worldwide sulphur cap expected by 2020, says MAN’s Jacobsen

Dorthe Jacobsen, senior research engineer based in Copenhagen, Denmark, at MAN Diesel & Turbo, two-stroke, gave an outlook on marine fuels and the impact on cylinder lube oils at the 28th CIMAC World Congress in Helsinki, Finland, today.

She said that majority of people in the industry now believe that the change in the worldwide cap of maximum of 0.5% sulphur (S) fuel will happen in 2020, instead of 2025, by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

“We are expecting that when the change comes, there will be a drop in the amount of heavy fuel oil but the difference in price between heavy fuel oil and low sulphur fuel will enable scrubbers to be installed on board ships.” The cost of scrubbers is considerable, but it enables fuel desulphurisation on board.

“At present, we are seeing 15 different types of 0.1% sulphur [for emission control areas] and in the future, when the global cap will be 0.5% S, we expect fuel suppliers will develop new types of 0.5% S fuel, so we could see up to 50 different types. We will also expect LNG to come into the fuel pool,” she said.

When there is almost no sulphur in the fuel, Jacobsen said that the challenge for the cylinder condition is that the lube oil may develop deposits which may sit in components. Low base number (BN) oils for low sulphur fuels will be needed for sure, she said.

She also discussed MAN’s Automated Cylinder Oil Mixing (ACOM) system, which will be commercialised this year. The ACOM will enable vessels to mix high BN and low BN oils to the optimum BN at low feed rates. She said ship owners can also take advantage of buying different BN oils at cheaper ports, such as Rotterdam and Singapore, to be mixed later in the ACOM.