The implementation of the 2020 global sulphur-in-fuel-oil cap is only 13 months away and will require a dramatic cut in sulphur emissions from the permitted 3.5 per cent to 0.5 per cent. A compliant low-sulphur fuel blend or conventional heavy fuel oil (HFO) with scrubbers are the two main options for immediate compliance.

Industry associations have predicted as much as a US $400 price differential per tonne between 0.5 per cent compliant fuel and HFO. It will be increasingly vital for companies to monitor and understand their fuel consumption and understand where inefficiencies can be reduced to keep operational costs as low as possible. There is still much uncertainty on how 0.5 per cent fuel blends that are still in development will behave and there is widespread concern around their compatibility and stability as a marine fuel.

FuelTech Rotterdam 2019 will address concerns on the availability of compatible low-sulphur fuel, the complexities of bunkering different fuel blends across different ports and what can be done by operators and crew to recognise and minimise operational issues. The conference will also look at the impact different fuel blends will have on cylinder oil lubricant choice.

Alternative fuels such as methanol and ethanol have proven successful in short sea shipping, as have batteries and electric propulsion, but currently the technology is not far enough advanced for application to large commercial ships. FuelTech Rotterdam will look at the possibilities for scaling alternative propulsion methods and fuels in the future for cleaner and more sustainable shipping to meet the IMO 2050 GHG emissions target. 

The conference will give delegates a chance to discuss the role of industry members, including ports and authorities, in meeting and enforcing regulation and how the design and operation of vessels will change in the future.

Session 1

The 2020 Regulatory Landscape

This opening session will look at the regulatory landscape in 2020. The session aims to address the options and challenges of 2020 compliance, the role of ports and authorities in enforcing the regulation, available infrastructure, and how to monitor and test fuel to ensure quality.

The session will also look at the legal implications and consequences of not meeting emissions reduction targets, and the possibility of standardising compliance in the future.

Session 2

Vessel Design and Operation in 2020

The second session of the day will discuss what steps the industry can take now to avoid operational difficulties in 2020. It will cover how shipowners, operators, and managers can source and bunker compliant and compatible fuel and will discuss the possibility of a standardised 0.5 per cent sulphur fuel. The session will also look at how staff can be trained to notice abnormal behaviour in vessel performance as a result of fuel contamination.

Session 2 will host a discussion on engine lubricant considerations for 2020. With a predicted rise in demand for low-sulphur fuel, shipowners and operators will have to consider switching lubricants to avoid incompatibility, component blockages, and engine breakdown.

Session 3

Electric Propulsion and Alternative Fuels

This last session of the day will discuss if and to what level alternative fuels and propulsion will play in reducing shipping’s carbon footprint beyond 2020.

Batteries have been successfully applied to small ships and ferries and there is continuous research into how they might be scaled to help reduce emissions from large commercial ships. This session will cover some of these recent developments and look at the future of batteries in international shipping.

Session 3 will also discuss the possibility of methanol and other alternative fuels in propelling shipping to meet the IMO’s 2050 target.