Shipping industry focuses on on board fuel compatibility testing ahead of 2020


Parker Kittiwake, a manufacturer of condition monitoring technologies, is reporting an increase in demand for on board fuel compatibility testing. The trend indicates the urgency in the market as shipowners and operators take a more proactive approach to address the risks of possible marine fuel oil incompatibility and stability issues related with the upcoming 2020 global sulphur cap regulation.

With most of shipowners expected to choose very low sulphur fuels, the shipping industry is seeing an increase in new blended fuels on the market. However, there are important concerns regarding how these new fuels will impact marine engines, which is why testing for compatibility and cat fines is increasing.

Namely, shipowners and operators are looking to condition monitoring tools and technologies as the first line of defence for the early identification of issues, helping them to limit disruption, downtime, and unexpected costs and delays.

Scott Herring, Key Marine Accounts Manager, Parker Kittiwake, stated:

It is crucial that these new fuels are managed effectively at all key stages of supply to allow shipowners to mitigate the risks associated with contamination, instability and incompatibility. If left unchecked, instability can cause severe problems including sludging of the fuel tanks, filter blockages and excessive sludging of the purifier. In the worst cases, this can lead to catastrophic failure and loss of propulsion and power

He also added that the stability of the fuel and its compatibility for blending is crucial to protect the operational efficiency of the engine. Ships bunkering in different geographical locations will use various fuel suppliers, making the blending of fuels inevitable.

With so many factors affecting fuel quality and the resulting impact on combustion and engine damage, effective and reliable testing and monitoring is key to protect the safety and operational efficiency of the vessel.

On board testing also gives shipowners and operators access to the information they need to effectively manage maintenance requirements and prevent damage.

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