Regulatory compliance was the focus of Marine Propulsion & Auxiliary Machinery readers attention in 2018. Craig Jallal looks back at the top five most-read stories
The most-read story in Marine Propulsion & Auxiliary Machinery in 2018 was one from the final month of the year. Panolin business development manager Phil Cumberlidge took a long hard look at the subject of stern tube lubricants and in particularly environmentally acceptable lubricants (EALs).
The premise of the article was the difference in performance of synthetic (highly refined) mineral oils versus conventional mineral-based (petroleum) oils with attention paid to compliance with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its vessel general permit. This requires that vessels entering US waters must use EALs in oil-to-sea interfaces.
The crux of the matter was the reported breakdown in performance in some synthetic lubricants and the resulting non-compliance to EPA standards, according to Mr Cumberlidge. It would appear that the working life of the synthetic EALs was, in some cases, shorter than the traditional variants. This should become evident from a DNV GL joint development project with several marine insurers and the University of Sheffield, which will investigate the increase in stern tube bearing failure.
There can, of course, be many reasons for stern tube bearing failure and on choosing lubricants, Mr Cumberlidge offered this advice: It is the lubricant manufacturer’s job to tell customers about the key performance indicators of their lubricant(s) – so consult them and ask them what specific EAL base oil technology they use. If they say, “We use ester technology”, ask if it is natural, unsaturated, or a blend of saturated and unsaturated ester, or if it is the ‘real thing’ – a fully 100% saturated synthetic ester.
The second most popular article in 2018 was an examination of the role of eductors in stripping ballast water tanks which may result in outflow with too much sediment for sensors to give a proper reading.
This situation was highlighted by David Smith of The Ballast Water Centre at PML Applications in the UK in a June 2017 article that was still proving to be enormously popular in 2018. The article, Using eductors to strip treated ballast water explained that although ballast water may have been treated in line with compliance, under some circumstances, the use of educators might literally muddy the waters and hinder the chemical control function.
Eductors are pumps without moving parts that work on the Venturi effect. A stream of liquid with a head of pressure greater than that to be removed from the tank is forced through a narrowing in the pipework, creating a low-pressure area that sucks up the remaining liquid in the ballast tank. The high-pressure liquid is usually seawater pumped up from the harbour flowing through an eductor which sucks up the last 1% of the ballast water. At this stage the ballast water is likely to contain sediment, which can mask and cause misreadings in the outflow sensor.
Mr Smith notes that this was discussed in February 2014 at MEPC 66 and it was proposed that if monitoring shows that the bulk of the ballast discharged through the main system does not need neutralising, “it is accepted that the remainder of the ballast water in the tanks will also be compliant and may be discharged via an eductor system using local water as motive water without additional monitoring.”
Inevitably, one of the most popular Marine Propulsion & Auxiliary Machinery articles in 2018 focused on IMO’s 2020 global sulphur water cap but this story carried a stark warning, too. Speaking at the SulphurCap2020 Conference in April 2018, ExxonMobil Aviation and Marine Lubricants global field engineering manager, Iain White’s remarks proved to be remarkable prescient in the wake of the Houston rogue fuel scandal.
2018 has been a painful year for many people in the engineering supply sector. Merger, consolidation and sale are words that at the human level always result in someone being made redundant. In the case of Rolls-Royce selling its marine division, it could be said that Rolls-Royce president Mikael Mäkinen went further than many executives in explaining the rationale for shrinking the business. In an exclusive interview with Paul Gunton he made it clear that this was not a fire sale. As we now know, the marine division has been purchased by Kongsberg of Norway and is currently being reviewed by the various competition authorities.
There were many new products and upgrades at this year’s SMM in Hamburg but one that caught the eye was that MET introduced logical progressions to its range of turbochargers.
Discussing the development of this product range, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Marine Machinery & Equipment president Toshiaki Hori noted the need for physically smaller turbochargers is driven by a desire to reduce the weight of the propulsion unit, which coupled with the smaller size, increases the deadweight capacity of a given vessel.
Other considerations included the changes in emissions regulations. MET team leader and senior engineer in the radial turbocharger division Yushi Ono explained how these elements impact design and development. Higher pressure, explained Mr Ono, was required by engine manufacturers seeking to meet the demands of emissions regulation. The engine system needs a higher air charge to burn the fuel more completely, to reduce NOx emissions.
What were your favourite Marine Propulsion & Auxiliary Machinery stories in 2018? Email me, Craig Jallal: firstname.lastname@example.org