The development of Exhaust Gas Scrubber technology for SOx emissions control has advanced to the point that it is now possible to quickly ramp up production volumes to meet the increasing demand in the marine market as regulations become more stringent. Wärtsilä and Metso have extensive experience of scrubber technology in land-based installation. In December 2010 Wärtsilä received its first commercial scrubber order for a marine application.

Wärtsilä Corporation, the global leader in complete power lifecycle solutions and services, and Metso Corporation have signed an agreement to co-operate in developing and delivering scrubber systems for marine applications. Under the terms of this agreement, Metso is to supply the scrubber unit, while Wärtsilä is responsible for world-wide sales and integration of complete, certified, documented marine scrubber systems, including automation, water treatment, and ancillaries. Both Wärtsilä and Metso have extensive experience in the use of scrubber technology for land-based installations.

Long co-operation and comprehensive experience

Wärtsilä and Metso have already for a number of years worked together in the development of scrubber technology. In 2005 the two companies, together with other companies within the Finnish maritime cluster, embarked on a programme to develop a feasible marine scrubber.

By autumn 2007, the project had reached the stage of being ready for a test installation. A tanker, the MT 'Suula', owned by the Neste Shipping division of the Finnish company, Neste Oil Oyj, was made available and the project-testing phase began in November 2008. During the test period, which was completed in mid-2010, the 'Suula' operated primarily in the Baltic Sea but also visited many North Sea harbours. The sulphur removal efficiency was proven to be excellent and well within the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) most stringent limits. Furthermore, the discharge water was also proven to be well in compliance with IMO Washwater Guidelines.

This extensive development programme, from the establishment of the project group in 2005 until finalisation of the pilot tests on board a working tanker in 2010, culminated in the Wärtsilä SOx scrubber becoming the first such unit to be certified for marine applications. The classification societies Det Norske Veritas, Germanisher Lloyd and Bureau Veritas have granted the Wärtsilä unit a SOx Emissions Compliance Certificate.

First commercial order for Wärtsilä

In December 2010, Wärtsilä received its first commercial order for a scrubber for a marine application. Containerships Ltd Oy, a Finnish shipping customer, placed a contract for a turnkey installation onboard its vessel, 'Containerships VII', a ship equipped with a Wärtsilä W7L64 main engine. The scope of the order includes a Wärtsilä fresh water scrubber. The scrubber will be delivered to the customer in August 2011.

The more stringent IMO sulphur regulations, which require strict sulphur oxides control, are due to enter into force in January 2015 and will apply to Sulphur Emissions Control Areas (SECAs). With this in mind, a rapid ramp-up and development of the scrubber market is foreseen. Following the systematic development of this technology, its successful validation, and the agreement between Wärtsilä and Metso, Wärtsilä is committed and ready to fulfil the needs of the shipping industry regarding scrubber technology. The units can be delivered both for new ships, and as a retrofit for ships already in service.