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TotalEnergies: How market demands are driving marine lubricant evolution

Ship owners and operators are going to have to make strategic fuel choices which will impact key components of the shipping industry including bunker fuel suppliers and bunkering operation.

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Stuart Fuller, Market Liaison & Product Manager for Engine Oils in the Marine & Power division of TotalEnergies, recently spoke at the Nor-Shipping conference, providing insights and thoughts on the key drivers shaping the evolution of marine lubrication. 

In this article, Fuller captured some of the main points he shared with the audience of maritime professionals in Oslo:

The shipping industry faces a dual challenge - more energy, with fewer emissions. It is a key target that we are working on tirelessly at TotalEnergies, with our customers, stakeholders and our partners.

How we are Supporting the Shipping Industry’s Decarbonization Journey

Tackling our responsibilities head on, TotalEnergies has joined forces with the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping as a strategic partner, working with other industry partners to examine innovative technologies and what’s needed to build the infrastructure to support those technologies. We have so far committed 3 full time colleagues that are seconded to the project as well as enlisting the support of a further 12 colleagues on a part time basis.

TotalEnergies also actively participates in many other industry organizations working to improve combatting Climate Change, such as IMO, ISO, SEA/LNG, SGMF, Ammonia Energy Association, CIMAC and more, all with a shared goal of moving shipping into a carbon-free transport.

 The Market Drivers – Life After IMO2020

Post IMO2020, a number of drivers have been shaping the industry namely:

  • Technology - new engine design (increased temperatures/pressures), Exhaust gas after treatment, Scrubbers, EGR / SCR
  • Regulatory - SOX, NOX, ECA's, CO2...
  • Fuels - Hight/Low Sulfur Fuels, LNG, Biofuels

Future Fuels - Navigating Complexity

Currently the shipping industry is firmly focussed on the directions that the future fuels market is likely to take. Decarbonisation of transport will rely on massive investment in sustainable liquid fuels along with Biofuels, supplemented by e-fuels after 2030.

The predicted take up of H2 based e-fuels (including e-methanol and e-ammonia) is expected to take place between 2030 & 2050 and will be significant. It is also anticipated that LNG will remain in the mix but not significantly above the post 2030 volumes.

So, we are undoubtedly heading towards a more complex market with multiple fuel solutions making up the landscape.

And with 2050 just one ship life away, ship owners and operators are going to have to make strategic fuel choices which will impact the key components of the shipping industry including engine manufacturers, fuel suppliers, bunkering operations, global port developments and of course lubrication development.

Note: Read more on Fuller's insight in his full report titled ‘Shaping the Future of Marine Lubrication - How Market Demands are Driving Marine Lubricant Evolution’ here.

Photo credit: TotalEnergies
Published: 27 October, 2023

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Lubricants

ExxonMobil opens new lubricant test laboratory in Singapore

Additional facility is designed to help ensure customers can easily and effectively monitor the in-operation performance of their Mobil™ lubricants.

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ExxonMobil opens new lubricant test laboratory in Singapore

ExxonMobil on Wednesday (7 February) said it has enhanced its Mobil Serv℠ Lubricant Analysis with the opening of a new test laboratory in Singapore. 

The additional facility is designed to help ensure customers can easily and effectively monitor the in-operation performance of their Mobil™ lubricants.

 “The opening of the Singapore lab will augment our Mobil Serv Lubricant Analysis offer and help our customers to save time and money, while boosting equipment reliability and productivity,” said Glen Sharkowicz, ExxonMobil Aviation and Marine Global Marketing Manager.

“It can save users as much as 66% of their sampling time, while providing the information they need to keep their equipment productive and minimise costly repairs.”

Mobil Serv Lubricant Analysis uses one of the most sophisticated interpretation algorithms and ExxonMobil’s extensive used-oil analysis database, which combine to deliver outstanding insights that can help spot issues before they become problems.

“Working with ExxonMobil has enabled PIL to monitor equipment health and optimise lubricant use across our fleet, thereby improving the cost-efficiency of our operations,” said Goh Chung Hun, Head, Fleet Division, Pacific International Lines (PIL). 

“We are happy to see the setting up of this lab in Singapore and are confident that this will further facilitate a timely analytical service to support us in maximising our fleet’s uptime, contributing to PIL’s aim of ‘driving connectivity’ for our customers.”

 

Photo credit: ExxonMobil
Published: 8 February, 2024

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Lubricants

Infineum shares compatibility of its additives with ammonia bunker fuels

Toby Stein, Infineum Business Transformation Manager, reveals some of the lubricant compatibility work Infineum has undertaken in support of making the use of ammonia as marine fuel a reality.

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Infineum shares compatibility of its additives with ammonia bunker fuels

International fuel additives company Infineum on Tuesday (23 January) published an article on its website, Insight, sharing on lubricant formulation challenges in ammonia-powered marine engines and its studies on assessing compatibility of its additives with ammonia:

As the shipping industry works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to comply with current International Maritime Organization requirements, it is also assessing ways to meet the 2050 net zero ambition. With ammonia emerging as one of the most promising zero carbon fuel options for shipping, Toby Stein, Infineum Business Transformation Manager, reveals some of the lubricant compatibility work Infineum has undertaken in support of making the use of ammonia as marine fuel a reality.

International shipping, which carries over 80% of world merchandise trade by volume, is reported to be responsible for nearly 3% of all global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 2023 maritime CO2 emissions were 20% higher than 10 years earlier and, without further action, emissions from the sector are expected to continue to increase.

As the International Maritime Organization (IMO) works towards maritime decarbonisation, it is calling for a reduction in CO2 emissions of at least 40% by 2030 and 70% by 2040 compared to 2008. The organisation has also announced its ambition to reach net zero GHG emissions from international shipping by 2050. In response, the maritime industry has made significant investment in new engine and ship designs and in the infrastructure needed to accelerate the adoption of low or zero carbon fuels, which have the greatest potential to make a significant difference.

Lower carbon alternative fuels, such as biofuels, methanol, ethanol, LNG and LPG are already in use. But, looking ahead, fuels such as green methanol, hydrogen and ammonia, are expected to be the most promising zero carbon marine fuels, and the deep-sea shipping industry has championed ammonia.

m21548 inf insight jan 24 ammonia 1

Ammonia is popular owing to its comparatively higher energy density (with respect to hydrogen) and the wealth of existing knowledge on ammonia handling, storage and infrastructure, which make it well suited to marine applications. However, safety and availability issues remain important barriers that need to be overcome before ammonia can be used at scale as a marine fuel. In addition, shippers say that both regulatory and customer support will be essential to support the installation of ammonia capable engines. Despite these concerns, two-stroke large engine OEMs, including MAN ES and WinGD, have already announced the rapid development of new engine designs and retrofitting strategies to enable ammonia adoption.

Many ship owners, including major shipping companies such as MSC, Grimaldi Group, Hoegh Autoliners, Euronav and CMA-CGM, are reported to be placing orders for new vessels ready to run on alternative fuels in order to give themselves more future fuels flexibility. As of the end of 2023, data suggest some 50% of these new orders have ammonia as an option. And, recent reports show Exmar LPG is moving forward with what may be the world’s first ocean-going ammonia dual-fuelled ships – set for delivery in 2026.

This fairly imminent arrival of ammonia fuelled engines raises numerous complex challenges to other tethered industries. These range, for example, from ports handling ammonia or ammonia powered vessels to ship owners, operators and crews through to companies developing additive chemistries and lubricants.

m21548 inf insight jan 24 ammonia 2 1

Despite the complexity of the challenges, all key parties involved in making the adoption of ammonia as a marine fuel a reality have chosen to tackle the issues head on. For example, lubricant manufacturers and additive suppliers across the globe, including Infineum, are already working to formulate lubricants to help address the challenges of using ammonia to power marine engines.

Collaborative engine testing

At Infineum, one of our first steps has been to work collaboratively with various third party testing laboratories and expert organisations in multiple engine testing facilities using both pure ammonia and ammonia/hydrogen blends. This work has been very successful in enabling us to gain key knowledge regarding safe ammonia handling practices and to quickly establish no harms test methods. In addition, multiple engine tests have given us a rapid understanding of lubricant phenomena and the ability to focus on areas of most challenge or predicted concern.

Engine testing involving ammonia combustion is crucial as it allows the effects of combustion by-products on the lubricant to be studied. Our findings, from a few hours of operation during ammonia engine testing, revealed that the efficiency of ammonia combustion greatly influences the lubricant. This underscores the fact that considerations of ammonia combustion are indispensable for an ammonia-powered vessel to operate at peak performance, hinting at potential challenges in maintaining optimal lubrication.

More engine test data is needed to further refine and develop the most compatible lubricant additives for these next generation engine platforms.

Assessing compatibility

Infineum has implemented customised safety protocols and experimental set ups that enable us to explore the compatibility of our additives with ammonia. Studies on individual additives with ammonia suggest possible incompatibility, which could lead to increased deposit formation and wear. However, under initial observations, minimal changes were noted when a fully formulated marine lubricant was subjected to the same conditions. The latter results suggest that Infineum additives, working together in the lubricant, demonstrate acceptable compatibility with ammonia in controlled laboratory conditions. These learnings are also proving to be helpful in applying knowledge to system oils, which are potentially going to be exposed to ammonia.

m21548 inf insight jan 24 ammonia 3

In the long run, only field testing or formal two-stroke engine testing will confirm these phenomena, and Infineum is ready to move into this next phase of testing.

Conclusion

Subjecting additives to ammonia in a laboratory setting provides an in-depth mechanistic understanding of our chemistries. While it is challenging to perfectly replicate the exposure of a lubricant to an engine environment, these engine tests are crucial. They serve as the foundation for future learning and the development of innovative solutions in the field of ammonia combustion engines.

Infineum believes it is important to be robust and thorough in assessing the suitability of any lubricant technology when crossing over knowledge to new fuels such as ammonia.

The initial knowledge gained from both these bench and engine tests highlight key areas of concern, but the challenges are yet to be fully understood and resolved. More work is needed to fully understand the requirements for lubricants used in ammonia-powered vessels. Nevertheless, the key learnings, along with our approach to ammonia safety, have been shared with OEMs and other industry partners to help provide valuable insights.

Given the recent announcements from WinGD and MAN ES on the rapid progress of the development of large two-stroke ammonia ship engines, the reality of ammonia-powered vessels operating at sea is getting closer. Infineum is fully committed to ensuring that suitable lubricants are ready to support the introduction of ammonia-powered vessels to the global maritime market.

 

Photo credit: Infineum
Published: 30 January, 2024

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Milestone

China: First upgraded Zhoushan bunkering vessel completes inaugural refuelling op

“Dong Fang Zhao Yang” supplied 500 metric tonnes (mt) of heavy oil, 100 mt of light oil, and 81 barrels of lube oil to the “Emerald Liuheng” ship owned by Zhejiang Xinyi Shipping Co., Ltd.

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China launches version 2.0 of “Zhoushan ship type” bunkering vessel

The first bunkering vessel of the "Zhoushan Ship Type" version 2.0 on Friday (12 January) successfully completed its inaugural refuelling operation at the anchorage outside Cosco Zhoushan’s Liuheng Shipyard after it was launched recently.

Dong Fang Zhao Yang supplied 500 metric tonnes (mt) of high sulphur fuel oil, 100 mt of low sulphur fuel oil, and 81 barrels of lube oil to the Emerald Liuheng ship owned by Zhejiang Xinyihai Shipping Co Ltd. The milestone marked an integrated comprehensive bunkering operation and meeting its “one ship with multiple functions” objective. 

According to media reports, the vessel uses a variable frequency cargo oil pump and an Emerson mass flow meter (MFM) bunkering system, which ensures accurate measurements of bunker fuel supplied.

Before the inaugural operation, shipowner Zhejiang Free Trade Zone Orient Shipmate Maritime Service Co Ltd worked with its partner Sinopec Fuel Oil Sales to strengthen cooperation with the relevant departments of various industries, formulate operation plans in advance and complete relevant procedures to ensure a smooth operation. 

Manifold Times previously reported the launch of Dong Fang Zhao Yang when it set sail for its maiden voyage at the Zhoushan Hetai Shipyard on 28 December.

Compared to the 1.0 version, the ship underwent six major upgrades including being equipped with twin engines, twin propellers and twin rudders to improve the ship's manoeuvrability and rotation, and significantly improves the ship's berthing capability. 

Related: China launches version 2.0 of “Zhoushan ship type” bunkering vessel 

Disclaimer: The above article published by Manifold Times was sourced from China’s domestic market through a local correspondent. While considerable efforts have been taken to verify its accuracy through a professional translator and processed from sources believed to be reliable, no warranty is made regarding the accuracy, completeness and reliability of any information.

 

Photo credit: Zhoushan’s Zhejiang Pilot Free Trade Zone
Published: 19 January, 2024

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