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Innospec: Slow steaming offers economic and environmental rewards, but not without sacrifices

While slow steaming may help save fuel cost and lowers emissions, it may end up being a costly endeavour for ship owners. Innospec suggests looking at smart slow steaming instead, shares Nicea Ng.




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Slow steaming is often considered the easiest solution for overcoming both economic and environmental challenges.

However, doing so without risking the safety and long term efficiency of ships needs careful consideration by ship owners and operators, shares Nicea Ng, Marine Technical Specialist, Innospec Limited.

“Every vessel has an optimum engine load where the combustion is almost complete and the SFOC (Specific Fuel Oil Consumption) is at minimum level,” states Ng.

“When an engine is running on a low load condition, the cylinder pressure and temperatures are lower which leads to poorer ignition and incomplete combustion of bunker fuel.

“Though reducing speed offers a better CII rating; this may also lead to energy and combustion efficiency losses that cause preventable damage to vessel machinery.

“Vessels with high engine output will need costly retrofit solutions with high CAPEX in order to permanently work at lower loads.

“From experience, slow steaming usually results in a variety of negative effect on vessel engines.”

Adverse effects of slow steaming on ship engines

Poor Atomisation

Higher volume of fuel trapped at the injector tip (sac) delivering uncalculated fuel to the cylinder and increasing the likelihood of dripping. Increased fouling and carbon deposits all contribute to poor atomisation and subsequent drop in performance.

Poor Combustion Characteristics

At reduced ME load operation, inadequate turbo charger speeds are generated to provide adequate air to the combustion chamber, leading to lower combustion efficiency, unburnt fuel and the formation of harmful emissions.

Reduced Air Flow

Reduces engine efficiency and causes fouling in the air supply/scavenge system. Subsequently this can lead to very high differential and exhaust temperatures which can damage engine components and lead to burned exhaust valve as one example.

Cold Corrosion

Corrosive wear on the cylinder liners caused by acid condensation due to the drop in engine operation temperature caused by slow steaming operation.

Fouling Effect

On Turbocharger (turbine side),

  • On Exhaust Gas Boiler (heat exchanger pipes)
  • On Injector (clogged nozzles),
  • On Piston rings (deposit accumulation - lack of sealing)
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T/C Untreated fuel
Picture 2
T/C treated fuel with Octamar

‘Smart slow steaming’ with Octamar™ Ultra HF & Octamar™ Complete – fuel treatment systems with Class Verification

Combustion catalysts have a positive impact on the fuel’s combustion profile by providing a faster and more complete combustion of regular fuel at any load condition.

With a significant reduction in uncaptured fuel energy, vessels have seen 2.1-3.9% fuel savings which have contributed to better CII ratings.

“Even till today, issues with slow steaming have remained the same. However, with new regulations and changes in fuel quality over the years, Innospec continues to improve its technology to optimise today’s marine fuel,” informed Ng.

“Octamar™ Ultra HF & Octamar™ Complete allows vessels to slow steam with associated benefits by minimising the adverse effects listed above while improving fuel consumption and emissions.”

The unique treatment package improves energy efficiency of ships by reducing ignition delay, cleaning injectors, and reducing afterburn to mitigate all the issues associated with slow steaming while decreasing combustion properties and early max heat release to maintain energy efficiency.

Screenshot 2023 05 29 at 12.25.22 PM

“ClassNK has also verified several trials conducted over a decade which demonstrated the active fuel consumption (2.1-3.9%) and emissions reduction of Octamar™ technology,” she highlights adding the Octamar ™ solution can be further included in vessels’ SEEMP III.

Screenshot 2023 05 29 at 12.25.40 PM
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Note: Readers may contact Innospec Limited for more information on Octamar™ Ultra HF & Octamar™ Complete at: [email protected]

Related: Innospec Inc. retains Gold rating from EcoVadis for sustainability performance
Related: ClassNK verifies improved engine performance data of Innospec Octamar™ Combustion Catalyst Series
Related: Innospec Fuel Specialties technical bulletin: Considerations when heating VLSFO and Case Studies
Related: Innospec Fuel Specialties technical bulletin: Why are there no Cold Flow Improvers (CFI) for VLSFO?
Related: Innospec Octamar HF-10 Plus receives ClassNK certification for VLSFO stability performance
Related: Innospec highlights important overview on handling fuel instability issue of VLSFO|
Related: Innospec launches Octamar™ series of additives for new blends of IMO 2020 bunker fuels

Photo credit: Innospec/ Shaah Shahidh on Unsplash
Published: 29 May, 2023

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GCMD concludes its final biofuel blend supply chain trial with Hapag-Lloyd

bp provided the B30 biofuel blend to the “TIHAMA”, a 19,870 TEU container vessel operated by Hapag-Lloyd in final trial; marks the end of a series of trials initiated in July 2022.





GCMD concludes its final biofuel blend supply chain trial with Hapag-Lloyd

The Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD) on Thursday (18 July) said it has successfully completed its final supply chain trial for biofuel blended with very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO). 

This marks the end of a series of trials initiated in July 2022 as part of a larger pilot to develop a framework to provide quality, quantity and GHG abatement assurances for drop-in fuels.

In this final trial, bp provided the B30 biofuel blend to the TIHAMA, a 19,870 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) container vessel operated by Hapag-Lloyd.

The biofuel component used is certified to the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) standard – a multistakeholder certification scheme for biobased materials. The biofuel component comprised neat Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME) produced from food waste.

Authentix, a tracer solutions provider, supplied and dosed the FAME with an organic-based tracer at the storage terminal outside the Netherlands. The dosed FAME was then transported to the Port of Rotterdam for blending with VLSFO to achieve a B30 blend, before the blend was bunkered onboard the TIHAMA.

Similar to previous trials, GCMD engaged fuel testing company Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS) to witness the operations at all stages – from biofuel cargo transfer to bunkering. VPS also collected and conducted extensive laboratory tests on samples of the biofuel and biofuel blend collected at pre-determined points along the supply chain to assess quality per Standards EN 14214 and ISO 8217.

With well-to-wake emissions of 13.74 gCO2e/MJ, the neat FAME presented a 85.4% emissions reduction compared to the emissions of the fossil marine fuel. The reduced emissions complies with the MEPC 80, which requires a minimum emissions reduction of 65% in order for biofuels to be classified as sustainable.

GCMD and Hapag-Lloyd determined that consumption of the 4,500 MT B30 blend of FAME and VLSFO resulted in 27.9% emissions reduction compared to sailing on VLSFO.

A newly developed tracer deployed with this supply chain

GCMD collaborated with Authentix to develop and deploy a new organic-based tracer to authenticate the origin and verify the amount of FAME present in the blend. The proprietary tracer blended homogeneously with FAME and was detected at expected concentrations at all sampling points along the supply chain.

This trial marks the first deployment of this tracer in a marine fuel supply chain. Previously, similar tracers were used to authenticate and quantify biofuels in road transport and LPG supply chains.

Development of a comprehensive biofuels assurance framework underway

With the completion of this trial, GCMD has deployed a diverse range of tracer technologies, including synthetic DNA and element-based tracers, in addition to the organic-based tracer used in this trial. The trials have also included the development of a chemical fingerprinting methodology and the evaluation of lock-and-seal and automatic identification systems (AIS) as additional solutions to ensure the integrity of the biofuels supply chain.

Learnings on tracer limitations and benefits will be incorporated into a framework that recommends appropriate use to ensure consistent and robust performance. This effort will complement existing ISCC by providing additional supply chain assurance through physical traceability.

The insights from these trials will be shared in a series of reports covering issues, such as traceability, biofuel degradation, supply chain optimisation and abatement costs. These findings will culminate in a comprehensive assurance framework to provide guidance on biofuels use, slated for release in the fourth quarter of 2024.


Photo credit: Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation
Published: 19 July 2024

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MPA, ITOCHU and partners sign MoU on ammonia-fuelled bulk carriers study

As a government agency, MPA,will review and provide their views to the designs of the ammonia-fuelled ships to ensure their safe operations, says ClassNK.





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Classification society ClassNK on Thursday (18 July) said it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ITOCHU Corporation, Nihon Shipyard Co., Ltd., and Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) regarding a joint study for the design and safety specifications of ammonia-fuelled ships which are under development by ITOCHU and partners.

“The discussion for a specification of ammonia-fuelled ships with a governmental body related to their operation is essential for a social implementation of ammonia-fuelled ships,” ClassNK said. 

“As one of parties of the MoU, MPA, a government agency overseeing the world’s busiest bunkering hub, will review and provide their views to the designs of the ammonia-fuelled ships to ensure their safe operations.”

The MoU is based on the premise that 200,000 deadweight ton class bulk carriers will be built by Nihon Shipyard with an ammonia dual-fuelled engine.

“The necessary clarifications of the specification for the ammonia-fueled ship to carry out ammonia bunkering in Singapore will be conducted among parties of this MoU, for the commercialisation of ammonia-fuelled ships,” ClassNK added.


Photo credit: Venti Views on Unsplash
Published: 19 July 2024

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“K” Line to use biofuel on three Gram Car Carriers-chartered vessels in Singapore

Biofuel will be supplied to the sister vessels “Viking Ocean”, “Viking Diamond” and “Viking Coral” while bunkering in Singapore, says Gram Car Carriers.





“K” Line to use biofuel on three Gram Car Carriers-chartered vessels in Singapore

Norwegian transportation firm Gram Car Carriers (GCC) on Thursday (18 July) said Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (“K” LINE) will use biofuel on three vessels chartered from GCC from July onwards. 

“The biofuel will be supplied to the sister vessels Viking Ocean, Viking Diamond and Viking Coral while bunkering in Singapore, an Asian hub for marine biofuels,” GCC said on its social media. 

“The use of biofuel is a key environmental initiative to reduce emissions across the entire value chain (well-to-exhaust) and an effective way of transitioning to low-carbon marine fuels amid globally tightening environmental regulations.”

“We support the green mobility shift. This means that GCC commit to supporting the transition of both vehicles and their logistic chain towards a zero-emission future in close cooperation with leading customers such as K-Line,” said Georg A. Whist, CEO of GCC.


Photo credit: Gram Car Carriers
Published: 19 July 2024

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