The head of a German company focused on product development in the transport sector believes high-sulphur fuel oil combined with scrubbers will be the shipping industry’s chosen route to compliance with the 2020 cap on sulphur in fuel.
“High sulphur fuels will remain the industry’s favoured fuel until methanol and hydrogen-based alternatives have attained commercial viability,” FuelSave founder and chief executive Marc Sima said. “Until then, the pursuit of LNG is just throwing good money after bad.”
Citing a study published by the University Maritime Advisory System in late June, Mr Sima called LNG a “climate dead end” because of the CO2 emissions produced when burning the gas.
He also dismissed the idea that low sulphur fuels will become the industry’s primary fuel source by 2020. In Mr Sima’s opinion, the complications of making the switch are too numerous for operators and – if a switch were to be made – refiners would raise the price of low sulphur fuels, negating any predicted price advantage.
“I really can’t see the global fleet switching across to low sulphur fuel in little under two years’ time. Not only would shipowners have to make sure their engines are compatible with the fuel in time, but assuming they are, they would have to revise their supply chains, evaluate compatible lubricating oils, and then sit back and watch their operating costs increase,” he said.
To meet 2020 global sulphur cap regulations, Mr Sima advocated the continued use of high sulphur fuel oils with scrubbers, noting that his company offers a fuel-addditive to optimise scrubber operation, saving up to 15% on fuel costs.