Measuring emissions in hazardous areas

A large industrial site, which can potentially have many leak sources, is a typically hazardous area demanding a tough, reliable analyser for gas emission monitoring.


ATEX is the term used for two European directives controlling these high-risk, explosive atmospheres. One concerns the protection of workers, while the other focuses on equipment and protective systems. In Britain, the requirements of the former are put into effect by the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR).  Employers must classify their potentially hazardous areas into zones (see below) and all equipment and protective systems intended to be used in those areas must meet certain requirements.

The Procal solution

Among the recently approved systems is the Procal 2000, which can now continue monitoring hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxide, nitrogen dioxide and other gases  in the chemical and refining industries, where it is already being used.

The Procal 2000 is a Continuous Emission Monitoring Process Infra-Red Analyser, which uses the reflective beam principle to directly measure process gas as it enters an in-situ sample cell.  Installation is simple and requires very little maintenance.  This makes it suitable for marine environments too.

Its advanced design is the result of many years of research and development in the field of stack gas analysis.

Fire hazards

Under ATEX, gases and vapours are grouped in three zones, each indicating the likelihood and probable duration of hazards being present in flammable concentrations.  Beginning with the most severe, these are numbered 0 (where a flammable atmosphere may be present continuously), 1 and 2.

Each piece of equipment used in these areas has marked on it a series of letters and numbers, which indicate its protection qualities. The Procal 2000 is marked ATEX II 2 G Ex d IIB T4/T6 (application dependent).  This means that it is flameproof and can be safely used in zones 1 and 2 (which would include chemical plants, LNG terminals and a number of mining operations) and where gases such as methane, ethylene and hydrogen (which is especially flammable) are present.

Among other certifications, the Procal 2000 is approved by the IEC, the International Electrotechnical Commission, which is responsible for worldwide standards for electrical, electronic and related technologies.

The challenge of measuring emissions in hazardous areas is often compounded by climatic extremes. A range of accessories ensures that the Procal 2000 can stand up to these. For example, a head cooler allows operation when outside temperatures are high, and a gas flow bypass ensures operation when temperature fluctuations cause thermal stress in a structure.

To find out more about our analysers and their approvals, contact us or call us on 01733 232 495.

The Shipping Industry’s Challenge as it Adapts to Sulphur Restrictions

The hopes of the shipping and bunker refining industries that the global 0.5% sulphur-in-fuel cap would be deferred from 2020 to 2025 appear to have been dashed.

0.5% by 2020

Masamichi Morooka, director of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), announced in February that although postponement was ‘still a possibility’, the industries should be prepared for a 2020 implementation – whatever the cost implications of the lack of availability of compliant fuel.

The fuel availability study, which the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is legally required to complete before the end of 2018, had given the ICS grounds for lobbying for the fuel cap to be postponed, as any supply problems identified in 2018 would leave governments with too little time to react.

Meanwhile, regardless of what the IMO decides, the European Union is set to apply the 0.5% limit to all international shipping within 200 miles of any EU member state by 2020.

This makes it very likely that the EU will push for global implementation in 2020 in order to head off the possibility that, between then and 2025, non-compliant shipping will attempt to get round the restriction by forging a narrow shipping corridor off North Africa.

Early impact of 0.1% cap

The shipping world is already seeing the effects of the 0.1% cap on sulphur-in-fuel in Emission Control Areas (ECAs), introduced on 1st January this year.

In the US bunker market, buyers’ interest in 0.1% fuel oil has been subdued, a reflection of the financial, managerial and other uncertainties surrounding low sulphur fuel oil.  The main challenges include the need for engines to be modified, largely because of the difference in oil viscosity, and the expense of the alternatives, notably scrubbing technology (especially if the vessel will only briefly pass through an ECA) or switching to LNG.

However, non-US suppliers are spotting fresh opportunities and tackling the availability problem.  A new refinery in Cartegena, which is to produce 0.1% sulphur fuel oil, is well placed to supply fuel for ships heading to ECA areas.

Shipping companies have begun to turn to new technologies in recent months in response to the 0.1% cap.  Passenger ferries are largely favouring scrubber installation, and inland shipping is inclining towards LNG, but most other shipping has opted to move away from residual fuel and towards distillate in the form of low sulphur Marine Gas Oil , for which there is already a reliable bunker supply chain.  Other companies are investigating biofuels and fuel cells.

In ECAs, fuel oil has to be tested before loading to ensure it complies with the limits (and, in the case of compliant oil, to check it has not been mixed with higher-sulphur oils during the transfer process).  Parker Kittiwake has built a reputation as a global leader in bunker fuel testing and oil sampling solutions, for more information please call the team on +44 1903 731470.

Parker Kittiwake to Sponsor the Marine Propulsion Awards

Parker Kittiwake is proud to be sponsoring the coveted Marine Propulsion Awards, to be presented at a ceremony on 15th April as part of the annual Marine Propulsion & Auxiliary Machinery Conference.

The awards promote and celebrate excellence and innovation in the development of technology for ships’ engineering systems.

All nominations (the deadline is 30th January) will be reviewed by a panel, with a shortlist voted on by readers of industry publication Marine Propulsion. The categories are:

Marine Engines Award – for an original development that takes engine technology a step forward

Auxiliary Machinery Award – for an enhancement that improves a ship’s operational efficiency or reduces risk to personnel

Environmental Performance Award – for introducing change with a positive environmental benefit

Fuel Efficiency Award – for bringing about a sustainable improvement in fuel efficiency, either on a specific ship or across a fleet

Innovation Award – for any feat of marine engineering that provides an imaginative, effective solution to an engineering need

Shipowner Efficiency Award – for an improvement that has benefited both company and customer in terms of reducing time, cost, or energy consumption

Electrical Systems Award – for equipment that can demonstrate improved efficiency, reduced costs, less waste or better safety

Lifetime Achievement Award – for an individual, selected by Riviera Maritime Media, who has shown consistent leadership and technical inspiration in marine engineering

The two-day Marine Propulsion & Auxiliary Machinery Conference, which will be held on 15th-16th April 2015 in London, will see the  biggest players in the shipping world gather to discuss and gain valuable ‘best practice’ insights into the most challenging issues facing ship operators.

With keynote presentations, panel discussions, technology exhibitions and more, it has become an unmissable event for anyone in the marine propulsion industry.

For further information contact us on:
Tel: +44 1903 731470

South Korea explores Arctic shipping potential

South Korea and Norway held talks this month to discuss marine cooperation in the polar region.

Last year South Korea launched a pilot service on a new shipping route, which cuts the distance between the Asian country and northern Europe from the 22,000 km of the traditional Indian Ocean route to just 7,000 km.

New resources, new sea routes

As South Korea seeks to lessen its dependence on oil from the Middle East, it is attracted by the oil reserves and natural gas deposits of the Arctic.  In addition, its new Northern Sea Route (NSR) would reduce both travel time and fuel costs, bringing significant benefits to the country’s trade, the vast majority of which is handled by sea (with Northern Europe a vital trade partner).  In addition, Korea’s powerful ship-building industry is keen to profit from the increasing demand for offshore platform and ice-hardened vessels in the polar region.  In 2013 South Korea was granted observer status by the Arctic Council, a further step forward in extending its influence.

Arctic challenges

As climate change causes the ice cover to recede, the season for feasible commercial shipping is lengthening.  However, in winter Arctic waters will remain closed to shipping for some time to come.  Shipping companies require consistency, so the irregularity of shipping route openings even in season, along with the difficulty of accurately forecasting weather conditions, could dampen wider commercial enthusiasm.

Similarly problematic is the present lack of opportunities to drop off or pick up cargo while crossing the Arctic, which makes the scope for generating revenues along the route very limited compared to established long-distance routes.

A new Polar Code

Meanwhile, at its November meeting the International Maritime Operation’s (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee approved a Polar Code aimed at preventing accidents and pollution from toxic liquids and sewage in these ecologically unique regions.  Amendments to MARPOL, which will make the Polar Code’s environmental provisions mandatory, are expected to be given the go-ahead in May 2015.

The Polar Code sets out ship structure and stability, operational safety, training and other specifications for vessels operating in both the Arctic and Antarctic.

Other recent news and analysis from the international shipping world can be found on the Parker Kittiwake website.

Quick, reliable on-vessel fuel testing

When a vessel is located in a remote part of the world, a product that allows its crew to test fuel samples without sending them off-site for confirmation will save both time and labour costs.

Even when docked in a major port, local customs regulations or reliance on couriers to deal with logistics can cause delay in getting the analysis data to the right people

On-site fuel labs
Of course, to be effective the product must be robust, accurate and quick to use without in-depth prior training – a specification met by the core electronic QC tests lubricants and residual fuel oils in Parker Kittiwake’s power plant lab.  Supplied in a wall-mounted cabinet, it is designed for use at installations in inhospitable locations.

Both this lab and the fuel and lube lab feature a density meter, which can also be purchased as a stand-alone product.  Tests have shown it is as accurate as more formal laboratory method.  Additionally, its uses are not restricted to measuring diesel and residual bunker fuel density: for example, it will also check that the correct grade of fuel has been delivered, according to ISO 8217.

The Parker Kittiwake Heated Viscometer can be used in a wide variety of applications.  Not only monitoring changes in lubricating oil viscosity, it also verifies that the fuel is the correct grade for storage and purifiers.

Testing for water contamination and the cloud point
In any harsh, industrial environment, water contamination can lead to microbiological growth that will clog filters and corrode fuel systems. The DIGI Water in Oil test comes with an ‘easyship’ reagent system, with comprehensive reagent packs for 50 tests.

Lastly, crews of vessels in arctic waters need a straightforward way of identifying the temperature at which wax crystals begin to form in a distillate fuel (the ‘cloud point’). Kittiwake’s highly portable Cloud Point Detector works by cooling an oil sample and monitoring the intensity of light transmission.

A test usually takes just ten minutes.

See our full list of On-Site Fuel Lab products.

The essential checks during bunker sampling

Regulations for bunker sampling are set out in MARPOL Annex VI, though specific rules drawn up by some ports and companies need to be noted too.

As well as inspecting their equipment for any dirt or damage prior to sampling, the ship operating company should follow the regulations and take additional precautions to ensure both accountability and fuel quality.

The following actions will minimise the chances of supplier-receiver disputes:
–    Both the supplier and the receiver need to be on hand to confirm the completion of the process
–    The sample should be poured into several smaller containers and the labels signed by both parties
–    The seal numbers must be written on the sample labels as well as in the Bunker Delivery Note (which both parties should sign and counter-sign).

Fuel quality
The cutter stock should be introduced very gradually to the residual fuel while the contents of the bunker tank are pumped around; insufficient blending will lead to inconsistent or unrepresentative samples.  Changes in the flow of the sample will alert the operator to possible blending problems.

Similarly, the mixture of new fuel and fuel already in the tank (if it is not completely empty) can be chemically unstable, which is why some form of on-vessel testing method can be useful.
If an analysis shows that the flashpoint temperature has fallen below 60°C (though there are certain exceptions), the fuel must be extracted from the vessel as soon as possible and put aside.  A further flashpoint test should be carried out before the fuel is offloaded to avoid subsequent expensive pumping operations.

Even small improvements in fuel quality can make a positive difference further down the line, in terms of prolonging the lifespan of pumps, pistons and other machinery.  Time and energy spent spotting potential problems before the fuel is on-board makes sound financial sense.

Parker Kittiwake supplies lightweight, easily installed Fuel Drip Bunker Samplers, used by shipping companies across the globe.

All aboard a new Port Charter to tackle fuel quality

An initiative to improve the quality and transparency of the bunker fuel supply chain was agreed at the annual convention of the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) in Hamburg earlier this month.

Ports signing up to a new Port Charter will need to show that they administer a licensing scheme for bunker suppliers.  The Charter also commits them to ensuring there are suitably qualified staff working in the supply chain and to establishing workable testing procedures.

Industry-wide scrutiny

So far, the ports of Rotterdam, Gibraltar and Singapore have indicated that they will support the Charter.

The proposals, backed by industry group International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO), had met some opposition at recent sessions of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Maritime Environment Protection Committee meeting.  However, the Committee eventually agreed to set up a correspondence group to formulate draft guidance on fuel oil quality assurance, and to examine whether the existing legal framework was fit for purpose.  A compromise acceptable to all parties was reached by the time delegates gathered in Hamburg.

Raising bunkering standards

Prior to the IMO’s deliberations, IBIA Chairman Jens Maul Jørgensen had voiced his concerns about a lack of respect for ISO standards.  Mr Jørgensen’s view, reported by ShippingWatch, was that robust regulation had to replace voluntary agreements in order to compel suppliers to follow certain criteria.  He also wanted a system in place for revoking licences and preventing unregistered suppliers from operating at ports.

Checks on fuel quality have become increasingly important since an array of new fuel offerings emerged in the wake of the MARPOL Annexe V1, which sets limits on sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from ship exhausts.  In 2015, sulphur content in marine fuel used in Emission Control Areas (ECAs) will be limited to 0.10% by weight or lower.

The IBIA’s Hamburg convention also featured a workshop on the mass flow meter, provided by the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore, along with presentations from industry-leading figures on topics such as emerging markets and new fuels.

See the Parker Kittiwake website for information on fuel oil testing.

The Problems Delaying the Switch to LNG in Shipping Fuel

The shipping industry has found itself doing a U-turn when it comes to the use of LNG as shipping fuel. In the face of stricter emissions regulations coming into play in January 2015, ships must turn to an alternative, low sulphur fuel source. However, whilst the challenges of using LNG have previously made it an unpopular alternative, the shipping industry is now coming around to it as a shipping fuel.

LNG – liquefied natural gas –consists mainly of Methane, which is converted to liquid form at extremely low temperatures of -162°C. This shrinks the volume of the gas 600 times, making it easier to store and transport.

One of the main challenges of using LNG as shipping fuel is its unique properties, which make the switch from conventional fuels to LNG a difficult one.

LNG stored at low – cryogenic – temperatures
Due to the incredibly low temperatures needed to store LNG fuel, special storage tanks must be used in order to protect the rest of the vessel and crew. Only special materials can come into contact with the cryogenic temperatures of LNG, such as stainless steel, aluminium and Invar. Contact with personnel must also be avoided, making the design of LNG tanks much more intricate than those for conventional fuels.

Larger storage space needed
The storage space required for LNG is four times higher than the space needed for conventional fuels, such as diesel, for the same range. A safe area around the tank is needed in case of any accidental spillage, further increasing the storage space required.

Tanks must be ventilated
LNG shouldn’t be stored in an enclosed space due to its volatile nature. Therefore a ventilation system is essential.

LNG facilities are limited
As the shipping industry is only just beginning to wake up to the opportunities of LNG fuel, bunkering facilities are still very limited. For some ships it may be necessary to provide a back-up fuel option to ensure fuel availability.

Yet, despite these challenges, demand for LNG fuelled ships is expected to increase as a result of the new regulations. Currently there are only 40 LNG fuelled ships in operation around the world. But a recent study by Lloyd’s Register predicted there could be as many as 653 deep-sea fuelled LNG ships in operation by 2025, as ship operators search for a long-term solution.

For further information contact us on:
Tel: +44 1903 731470

ECA Compliance is Coming

Come January 2015 emissions of Sulphur Dioxide (SOx) in all Emissions Controlled Areas (ECAs) must be reduced to 0.1%.

ECAs, also known as Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECAs), cover the Baltic Sea, North Sea, English Channel and the waters 200 miles off the coasts of America and Canada, and were established to minimise pollution from ships as part of the 1997 MARPOOL Protocol. Since 2010 sulphur emissions have been set at 1.0%, but to meet the stringent targets emissions will be reduced again come January.

Why were ECAs introduced?
It became apparent that there were certain areas in the world where shipping activity was significantly higher and so Emissions Control Areas were set up to minimise damage to the environment. Typically a ship will release over 35,000 parts per million (ppm) of sulphur in its exhaust fumes. When you compare this to the average car, which releases less than 10 ppm, it is easy to see why reducing damaging exhaust emissions from shipping is important.

What is sulphur dioxide?
Sulphur naturally occurs in crude oil, which is concentrated in the residue of refinery distillation. The sulphur content found in fuel oils differs, from 1% (LSFO – low sulphur fuel oil) to over 4%, depending on the refining process. During combustion in a diesel engine, sulphur from the fuel is oxidised to sulphur dioxide (SO2). The oxidised product has effects on both the engine system and environment when emitted to the atmosphere.

The new compliance rules will apply to all vessels operating within any ECA. For ship owners there are two options to meet the requirements of the SOx emissions regulations:
Option 1: Switch to an alternative fuel with the correct sulphur content
Option 2: Install a scrubber to remove sulphur from the exhaust fumes following combustion

Find out more about marine emissions and compliance.

For further information contact us on:
Tel: +44 1903 731470

What are Cappuccino Bunkers?

In 2012 Singapore became the centre of a bunkering dispute which resulted in a full investigation into what is known in the marine industry as the ‘cappuccino effect’.

What is the cappuccino effect?

Cappuccino bunkers are caused by compressed air being blown into the fuel oil during the transfer process. The blown air increases the apparent volume of fuel oil, but once the process is completed air rises to the surface resulting in froth and foam sitting on the surface of the fuel in a cappuccino effect.

As a result of this malpractice the shortfall for vessels can be significant, the vessel in Singapore ended up with 46 tonnes less fuel.

How is it caused?

The cappuccino effect occurs when air is injected into fuel oil, which can be done in a couple of different ways during transfer

  • Compressed air can be blown into tanks before it’s transferred to increase the apparent volume of the fuel oil.
  • Air can be injected into the fuel oil during transfer via the discharge pump or into the discharge line. Compressed air equipment, usually used to blow through pipelines after discharge, may be used in this process or a separate system can be used.

What are the signs?

Whilst the resulting ‘cappuccino effect’ is one of the most visual alerts to this problem, there are other tell-tale signs that something isn’t right throughout the transfer process.

  • Foam or frothing on the surface of the fuel oil prior to bunkering and on a vessel whilst transfer is taking place. Also look for bubbles and frothing on sounding tape or brass bob throughout the transfer process.
  • Check the pipework for suspect connections before the transfer begins. Look out for suspect connections on the supply pump and pipework where air injection lines can be used to blow air into fuel oil. Make time to inspect the line blowing arrangements before transfer begins.
  • Unusual noises heard by the crew of the vessel in Singapore were the first indication that something was wrong. If compressed air has been injected you’ll hear gurgling noises coming from the supply line or at the manifold. The fuel tank vent head and ball or float valves may also vibrate or rattle if there is an excessive amount of air present. You may also notice the supply hose moving around in a jolting or shuddering motion.

Bunker fuel sampling ensures a representative sample is captured for testing and analysis, it forms the basis of all discussion, debate or dispute resolution relating to bunkering. The Parker Kittiwake bunker fuel samplers are lightweight and easy to install and come complete with bunker fuel sampler joint rings.

For further information contact us on:
Tel: +44 1903 731470