Alfa Laval’s Paved Way For Environmental Solutions
Alfa Laval claims a place as one of today’s environmental frontrunners among marine equipment suppliers. The company’s Pure Thinking portfolio comprises not only compliant solutions for the broadest range of environmental legislation, but also leading technology – or even the only technology – in each respective area, the company said. At this year’s SMM, Alfa Laval will be showcasing the portfolio’s most recent developments, which include the soon-to-be-launched PureSOx 2.0.
When Pure Thinking was introduced as a concept in 2004, Alfa Laval solutions were already associated with high efficiency and the reduction of waste. However, there was a growing sense that more would soon be called for when it came to the environment. Indeed, the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, adopted by IMO earlier that year, proved to be just one of the seemingly insurmountable hurdles placed before ship owners and operators.
“Ballast water treatment was on everyone’s minds a decade ago, in much the way that emission control is today,” says Peter Leifland, President Marine & Diesel Division. “There were others besides Alfa Laval with a ballast water solution in development, but already then we were looking at a much bigger picture. We anticipated more and tougher environmental legislation in the years to come, and we knew our customers would have to meet it without damage to their business. Pure Thinking became the platform for meeting that need.”
As the name suggests, Pure Thinking began as a strong vision, with only a handful of finalized products and much that was still in the idea stage. PureBallast, for example, was not yet named and just setting out on its first trials at sea. But the formulation of a goal and a systematic approach would prove the key to addressing legislative demands. Ten years later, with US ballast water regulations already in place and Emission Control Areas (ECAs) soon entering into force, Alfa Laval’s environmental portfolio is a concrete offering prepared for an increasingly concrete reality.
Unique developments of core technologies
While the Pure Thinking portfolio addresses a wide range of applications, some of which are completely new, the products within it remain true to Alfa Laval’s proven strengths. “The principle of Pure Thinking has not been to venture into unproven areas, but rather to meet challenges by applying our core expertise in new ways,” says Leifland. “Separation, fluid handling and heat transfer are Alfa Laval cornerstones, even when addressing environmental issues.”
PureBilge, the centrifugal separator that became the very first Pure Thinking product, serves as an excellent example. “Centrifugation has been an Alfa Laval hallmark for over a century,” says Leifland. “In PureBilge we use it to counteract the vessel’s roll and pitch, thereby removing the reliability issues associated with static bilge water treatment solutions.” This reliance on core technologies, however, has not kept radical advances from being made within Pure Thinking.
PureBilge was recently joined by PureDry, a very different kind of separator that enables waste fuel recovery in accordance with MEPC.1/Circ.642. PureDry is a paradigm shift in centrifugal separation, combining a solid bowl and disc stack with self-cleaning capabilities. Together, PureDry and PureBilge form an integrated waste oil and bilge water handling system that produces three streams: clean water, a minimal amount of super-dry solids and reusable ISO-quality fuel.
“PureDry is actually the only technology capable of taking advantage of MEPC.1/Circ.642,” says Leifland. “In addition to minimizing waste oil volumes, it allows vessels to recoup up to 2% of their consumed fuel volume – which is why it’s being adopted rapidly by leading actors in almost every niche of the energy-focused marine industry.” Leifland points out that over 100 PureDry systems have been sold in little more than a year of sales.
Environmental protection with energy in mind
For those with energy in focus, there have also been recent developments in PureBallast, a long-time flagship of the Pure Thinking portfolio. PureBallast, which in 2006 became the first ballast water treatment system to reach the market, was launched in its third generation in 2013, bringing with it energy savings of up to 60% over previous versions.
“Ratification of the IMO ballast water convention has taken more time than expected, but in light of US legislation, there is no question that it will happen,” says Peter Leifland, President Marine & Diesel Division. “In the meantime, we have continued to develop PureBallast for the best possible fit with today’s market demands. Those demands include not only high energy efficiency, but also compactness and flexibility – all aspects that have been greatly improved in PureBallast 3.0.”
Beyond the energy savings, PureBallast 3.0 offers space savings of 50% over previous versions and much greater flexibility, thanks to newly optimized reactors in a variety of sizes. Introduced at launch with 300 and 1000 m3/h reactors, the system was expanded with a 600 m3/h reactor in the spring of 2014, enabling a further range of compact and energy-saving configurations.
Meeting the emission challenge
Like energy efficiency, which has both environmental and monetary aspects, today’s most pressing environmental issue is one heavily influenced by fuel costs. With Emission Control Areas (ECAs) for SOx appearing in January 2015, and ECAs for NOx to follow in 2016, the fuel costs associated with emission compliance are on every operator’s mind. Once again, competitive solutions can be found in the Pure Thinking portfolio, where PureVent, Alfa Laval’s unique air separator for cleaning crankcase gas, is now joined by PureSOx and PureNOx.
Launched in 2012, the PureSOx scrubber system allows vessels to meet SOx limits while continuing to use HFO, rather than switching to a more expensive, low-sulphur fuel. Having quickly established itself as a SOx abatement leader, the system is used extensively as a main engine scrubber and can be found in installations as large as 28 MW. “PureSOx is proven at sea and has more reference installations than any other single SOx scrubber technology,” says Leifland. “Whereas other suppliers have developed or even purchased multiple scrubber technologies, Alfa Laval has continuously optimized the original PureSOx platform, which draws on our more than 40 years of marine scrubber experience and our separation expertise for wash water cleaning.”
Wash water cleaning is also in focus with PureNOx, which performs this vital function as part of a complete Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) solution. EGR is developed by MAN Diesel & Turbo for their low speed engines. “PureNOx safeguards the EGR solution’s efficiency, protects the engine components and enables the discharge of excess water in accordance with IMO criteria.” says Leifland. Aboard two container vessels from A.P. Moller-Maersk, installations with PureNOx have already logged around 3500 hours of successful EGR operation.
New advances at SMM and beyond
Development continues within the Pure Thinking portfolio, in emission control and beyond. Additional PureNOx systems have been delivered to Chevron Corporation for EGR on two lighter newbuilds, and this year’s SMM will see the unveiling of PureSOx 2.0, a more compact system with new options and increased flexibility. “With SOx limits just around the corner in 2015, Alfa Laval is proud to be presenting an even more competitive PureSOx scrubber at this year’s SMM,” says Peter Leifland, President Marine & Diesel Division.
Looking even further into the future, Alfa Laval is exploring new solutions to serve the industry. This is exactly the sort of thinking made possible by the new Alfa Laval Test & Training Centre, a facility in Aalborg, Denmark with a 250 m2 testing space, where the interaction of equipment and full process lines can be explored. As the closest thing on land to the machinery room of a full-sized commercial vessel, the centre provides a springboard for new innovations – and for making current solutions smaller, simpler and more energy efficient.
“This is a critical time for the marine industry, which makes it an exciting time to be involved with Pure Thinking,” says Leifland. “Through ten years of hard work, Alfa Laval has ensured that solutions are in place now, exactly when and where they’re needed. Plus we’ve created a body of knowledge and new resources that will ensure tomorrow’s solutions.”
“Pure Thinking will continue,” Leifland concludes, “and as time goes on, the thinking will be even more closely linked with action.”