Exhaust gas cleaning system manufacturer Yara Marine Technologies said the impact of the pandemic has turned the company’s “world upside down virtually overnight” and discussed the company’s long-term plans
Yara Marine chief operating officer Ina Reksten said the boom in scrubber orders in 2019 driven by the IMO 2020 regulations has subsided. Towards the end of 2019 stakeholders began to step back to see how the regulations were going to be enforced and to get a feel for fuel availability and price with a mind on adjusting their plans according to trends. However the Covid-19 pandemic ensured that scenario never played out as travel restrictions and the resulting fall in oil prices weakened the scrubber case substantially.
Ms Reksten said “We never got the chance to see how things would have developed before the coronavirus crisis hit. Those that had invested in scrubber technology were happy, but Covid-19 has overshadowed everything since.”
Now the business is shifting. Yara Marine innovation manager Shyam Bahadur Thapa said in 2019, the company focused exclusively on scrubbers but now expects to invest more in research and development (R&D).
Mr Thapa said “We are expanding to realise the mission of helping to achieve a greener maritime industry. This means using our knowledge to grow into other areas. We are planning for future generations, and that includes more than scrubbers.”
The company’s plan is to provide ‘close to core’ technologies that focus on lowering the customer’s environmental footprint with a focus on digitalisation. Long-term IMO regulations are expected to shape the business with questions over open and closed loop scrubbers, public sentiment, disparate port restrictions and emissions reduction targets are expected to directly affect the company’s product.
Ms Reksten said “A lot depends on how customers look at the investment in scrubbers, but increased requirements for reporting and monitoring will drive their decisions.”
Yara Marine’s business is focused on open loop scrubbers but the company also offers hybrid and closed loop alternatives. Mr Thapa said “right now we have only inline scrubbers, and bypass technologies make up 30% of today’s market, so we plan to introduce U-type products in the near future.” Adding “We are also working on a closed loop upgrade option. Interest is down right now for hybrid or closed-loop solutions, but it might pick up again, depending on oil price development.”
With regard to helping customers meet IMO’s target of a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030, Mr Thapa said the company is exploring technology to enable ammonia to be used as fuel. Yara Marine’s parent company Yara International is a leading producer of ammonia and is planning and engineering a reintroduction of the production of green ammonia, something the company did between 1927 and 1991.
Ms Reksten said that while Yara Marine will continue to grow its core business “over time we expect our company will look quite different than today.”
Riviera Maritime Media’s webinar on the viability of ammonia as a marine fuel can be viewed here