Scrubber System Maintenance: What does the future hold? 

Maritime transport systems are a vital part of the global economy, serving as one of the most energy-efficient modes of transport. Whilst shipping is energy efficient, over 90% of traded goods are carried over the waves. Due to the sheer quantity of goods transported by marine vessels, compared to the relatively lower number of goods transported via aviation, marine transport contributes significantly more emissions overall. So, a big challenge for the marine industry is greenhouse gas emissions from their global shipping activities.  

If you compare the aviation industry, a major emitter, to the marine industry, aviation contributes about 600 million tonnes of CO2 (MtCO2) per year, compared to the marine transport system which creates a huge 940 MtCO2 annually. In July 2023, Member States of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the global regulatory body for shipping, adopted the Revised Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Strategy that sets a sectoral target of net-zero emissions by or around 2050. Importantly, this strategy does not only set a 2050 target, but it also sets indicative emission reduction targets for 2030 and 2040, taking all greenhouse gas emissions from the life cycle into account. 

In order to comply with the IMO regulations, many are choosing to install exhaust scrubber systems into their vessels in order to reduce the carbon emissions of the exhaust gas. However, while these systems effectively reduce emissions, they introduce the discharge of scrubbed exhaust gas, which contains a corrosive, low-pH liquid that can erode metal components. 

Over time, the liquid can corrode the metal work in contact with the scrubber system. Therefore, all the metal pipes in the system need to be protected against this aggressive environment. 

View of affected pipe
View of affected pipe

What was the problem? 

In a recent application on a cargo ship by one of our Turkish Distributors, INTER-MAR GEMI ONARIM (INTER-MAR), Belzona 1391T, a high-temperature corrosion-resistant coating, was chosen to protect the affected steel pipes during a scrubber retrofit installation. The process required dry-docking in a shipyard to carry out grit blasting, and salt testing. 

The steel pipe affected by scrubber exhausted emissions
The steel pipe affected by scrubber exhausted emissions

Before the project started, the surface climate conditions, salt content, and profile depth were closely monitored to ensure optimal results prior to the application. The sub-contractors and applicators underwent training, and the application began with cleaning the area using Belzona 9111 (Cleaner Degreaser). An application of two coats of Belzona 1391T was followed by a careful post-curing process according to the provided instructions.  

The application was completed over the course of one day, with an allowance of additional working hours for the post curing process. Heaters and dehumidifiers were used inside a tented area in order to ensure a controlled environment was achieved.  

What was the Result of the Application?  

Since the process was done in 2020, the Distributor has revisited the ship and found that all of the coated scrubber passage pipes were found in perfect condition. The customer was happy and satisfied with the Belzona solution chosen. 

Oguzcan Sarikaya

“We have a longstanding partnership with this Customer, through both mechanical and Belzona repair works for their ships. The Customer’s selection of Belzona 1391T brought us a unique opportunity to showcase our technical expertise and offer a promising application that significantly elevated our relationship. Our ongoing collaboration on various projects not only cements this relationship but has also opened the door to further projects.”

Oguzcan Sarikaya,

General Manager, Inter-Mar Gemi Onarim 

In conclusion, as the shipping industry gears up for new rules and a grading scheme for ships based on carbon emissions, the demand for efficient scrubber systems is set to surge. Therefore, there will be more requirements for the protection of the surrounding metal pipe sections in the near future.  

Information about the Distributor: 

INTER-MAR is a well-known ship repair company in Turkey which was established in 1990. They have been an authorised Distributor for the marine industry for Belzona since 2017 and have always preferred using Belzona for their repair works, even before the Distributorship started. To learn more about INTER-MAR, please visit their website here

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