With the significant focus on sustainability, more and more environmental regulations appear to move the shipping industry towards zero emissions. At the latest, this is seen with the IMO 2020. Fortunately, one apparent green tech solution ensures compliance with current and future environmental regulations. Let us dive into what an open-loop to closed-loop scrubber conversion is.
With the IMO 2020, marine exhaust gas cleaning systems, also referred to as scrubbers, have become imperative to obtain compliance. Scrubbers can take three forms, being open-loop, closed-loop, and hybrid. Learn more about the differences between an open-loop, closed-loop, and hybrid scrubber. Yet, several countries have banned the use of open-loop scrubbers and scrubber wash water discharge to fight ocean acidification. You can see our complete list of countries that have adopted a ban here.
As of today, many vessels still operate with open-loop scrubbers. However, this is not a sustainable or viable solution as the discharge of sulfuric wash water into the oceans harms ecosystems and aquatic species, especially shellfish and corals, by causing ocean acidification. And although local prohibitions are a great start to accommodate a desulfurized shipping industry, it is just the beginning as many in the shipping industry have requested a global effort to seek common ground. Therefore, it is also expected that the IMO will sanction a new work plan at its next Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), discussing environmental issues under IMO’s remit. This new work plan aligns with the regulations and bans for scrubber wash water discharges internationally. Here, they can decide when, where, or sanction scrubber wash water discharge. And with new global restrictions in sight, it becomes impossible to maintain an open-loop scrubber operation.
New innovative solutions are required to obtain full compliance with these new stringent environmental regulations. And this is where open-loop to closed-loop scrubber conversion enters the picture.