Safe Bulkers adds to Alfa Laval scrubber retrofits

By Becky Schultz18 November 2022

Alfa Laval PureSOx exhaust gas cleaning systems Safe Bulkers has install 21 Alfa Laval PureSOx exhaust gas cleaning systems on its bulk carriers, with plans for four more. (Photo: Alfa Laval)

Greek shipowner Safe Bulkers has just installed its 21st Alfa Laval PureSOx exhaust gas cleaning system on a bulk carrier, with four more retrofits scheduled through the first half of 2023.

The PureSOx scrubbers are designed to comply with SOx (sulphur oxides) regulations aimed at reducing air pollution related to fuel sulphur content. According to Alfa Laval, the scrubbers can remove more than 98% of exhaust gas SOx and enable up to an 80% reduction of particulate matter.

Safe Bulker’s most recent retrofit of an open-loop PureSOx system was on the MV Pelopidas bulk carrier. It next plans to retrofit equivalent systems on the MV Aghia Sofia, MV Lake Despina, MV Maria and MV Michalis H Capesize. Deliveries of the systems by Alfa Laval for the remaining vessels, each roughly 180,000 DWT in capacity, will extend from November 2022 to April 2023.

The previous retrofit projects have already proven a worthwhile investment. “When we first made the choice to retrofit Alfa Laval PureSOx systems in 2018, we were convinced that it was a good investment,” said Dr Loukas Barmparis, president, Safe Bulkers. “Today’s increased price difference between low-sulphur and high-sulphur fuel shows that we were correct. We are protecting our margins in a time of uncertainty while simultaneously protecting the environment.”

Independent laboratories using comprehensive sampling of effluent wash water from the open-loop scrubber systems and EPA or ISO methods have shown little or no environmental impact from the wash water concentrations, he added.

Alfa Laval PureSOx exhaust gas cleaning systems The PureSOx scrubbers are designed and built to comply with SOx regulations aimed at reducing air pollution related to fuel sulphur content. (Photo: Alfa Laval)

Of course, an endeavor such as retrofitting large equipment like a scrubber into vessels does involve challenges. “What makes the difference is the supplier’s commitment to finding a solution,” said Barmparis. “Having already done 21 retrofits with Alfa Laval, we can say with confidence that the cooperation works – just like the PureSOx technology. Both the support and the results are consistently excellent.”

To take full advantage of the partnership, Safe Bulkers has an Alfa Laval Service Agreement in place for its PureSOx systems. The agreement will now be expanded to cover the additional vessels.

“We take no chances with our compliance at Safe Bulkers,” Barmparis stated. “Service is an important safeguard, and we know that we can rely on Alfa Laval’s expertise. The support we receive means that we can always be certain of fulfilling our obligations.”

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