In an exclusive interview with GREEN4SEA, Nick Confuorto, President and Chief Operations Officer of CR Ocean Engineering LLC, reveals key issues to consider during the installation process of a scrubber system now that compliance with the 0.5% Global Suplhur Cap is imminent. Given the different fuel rules which apply in ECAs, he suggests that a properly designed scrubbing system is the best option and focuses on the important features that operators need to pay attention when deciding to order such systems.
GREEN4SEA: How IMO’s decision on the global suplhur cap affects shipping? What has been the reaction of the industry ahead of the sulphur cap?
Nick Confuorto: The 2020 sulphur cap will have a significant impact on the shipping industry. The anticipated significant fuel cost increase will change their financials and operation. I believe that Fuel cost differential between low Sulphur and high Sulphur fuels will change from the present $150-$200/ton to possibly $600-$800/ton. Fortunately it will be the same for all companies therefore the competitive status should not significantly change except for companies that decide to install scrubbers ahead of 2020. For those trendsetters, the fuel costs will actually go down because I believe HFO pricing will drop while MGO will raise making them even more competitive. It is estimated that only about 15%-20% of the global fleet will be lucky enough to have scrubbers installed by 2020.
G4G: What is your advice to the ship owners that have to comply with different fuel rules and those working for mainly in ECAs? What makes scrubber as a viable solution for compliance among other options?
N.C.: A properly designed scrubbing system is the best option for compliance at this stage. Our system is easy to operate because we have automated nearly every aspect of the operation. Additionally we design them for reliability and very low maintenance. At the high fuel costs the savings can pay for the scrubber in a very short time. One also hears about low sulphur heavy fuels and LNG as an option. I believe the low sulphur heavy fuels will not be much less costly than the MGO. Saving $40 or $50 against MGO will not provide sufficient savings to make them worth using. LNG, however, may eventually become a good option in the future assuming LNG bunkering would become available everywhere. That is not the case now and it will not be so for many years to come. Also, LNG could be applicable only to new-builds since the cost of retrofitting LNG will continue to be very high.
G4G: Which have been the major developments and highlights of your scrubber solutions? Have you realized any tangible benefits so far that you may wish to share?
N.C.: We have installed the system on many ships now and the results have been phenomenal. We now have on operation closed loop, open loop and hybrid and soon we will also have a multistreaming system in operation. Overall the size and the efficiency has proven to be good for this application. We began with a low backpressure system and have now modified it to be even lower backpressure. That effort even improved our already high efficiency. I am personally very happy with what our team has achieved.
G4G: In terms of timeframe from study & ordering to delivery & installation, how long does it take? What are the key issues to consider during the installation process of your scrubbers?
N.C.: A typical scrubber will take about 6 to 8 months from purchase order to delivery. Then depending on how the installation is planned, it could take another 2 to 4 weeks to install and commission. Some of our clients have been able to install 2 of or systems in 3 days in port alongside a pier. The piping and electrical installation was then done while the vessel was operating. That approach has a significant advantage in that the vessel is out of commission for only 3 days. That may be possible with our design because our system can be run dry as a silencer and it is about the same size as the silencer it replaces thus fitting in the same structure without major changes to the vessel.
G4G: Given the Global Sulphur Cap compliance what are your goals & considerations up to 2020?
N.C.: Our goal is to continue expanding our aftermarket service network and be ready to support all companies that wish to have our systems on their vessels not only during the life of the contract but also for many years more.
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and not necessarily those of GREEN4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.
About Nick Confuorto
Nicholas Confuorto (Nick) is the President and Chief Operations Officer for “CR Ocean Engineering, LLC”. “CR Ocean Engineering” specializes in design and manufacture of exhaust gas cleaning systems for global marine applications. Nick is also serving as the Chairman of the London based EGCSA (Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems Association). Since receiving his engineering degree from Columbia University in 1976, Nicholas focused his career in the field of environmental controls and has worked for some of the most respected names in the air pollution controls industry. Drawing on more than 36 years of consulting, engineering, project management, purchasing, sales, marketing and research and development experience, Nick counsels clients in the target industries who require air pollution control advice and systems.
Prior to his present position, Nick held roles such as Vice President – Sales/Marketing, Vice President – Operations, Vice President – Engineering, Purchasing Manager, Project Manager and Subcontracts Manager. Nick has authored many technical papers and magazine articles on the reduction of pollutants from various industries. Global clients may reach Nick at the global headquarters of CR Ocean Engineering in Parsippany, New Jersey, USA.