Athens & Dubai, 11 November 2020
234 global maritime stakeholders participated in a highly topical discussion when Chevron collaborated with the IMarEST to host a webinar deliberating the impact of a wide range of marine fuels on cylinder oil lubrication that stands as a bulwark for protecting engines.
Taking the virtual stage as the moderator was Secretary of the IMarEST UAE branch - Nikeel Idnani, who brought to light ‘Sustainable shipping for a sustainable planet’ has been selected as the World Maritime theme for 2020 and towards that end, this year we witnessed the largest reduction in the sulphur content of a transportation fuel undertaken at one time. He explained that lubricating oil is the life-blood of an engine, fortifying efficient operations under demanding conditions. Consequently, selecting the appropriate lubrication technology is critical to risk management with contemporary fuels.
Konstantinos Tziritis, Area Manager Marine Lubricants established the best in class credentials of California headquartered Chevron, ranked 15th in the list of Fortune 500 companies. With a legacy of 100 years developing advanced fuels & lubricants, this 4th largest oil company is an industry leader, demonstrably suited to foster technology for a sustainable future for shipping.
While taking a deep-dive into “The impact of new Fuels on Engine management: Tools and Solutions”, Georgia Chaloulou, Field Technical Specialist at Chevron Marine Lubricants admitted that the operation of ships in a multi-fuel future is a fast approaching reality. Chevron’s world-class R&D team have provided reliable solutions for these new fuels. As Georgia highlighted, lubricants are essential to safeguard the smooth operation and service life of propulsion machinery, but their optimal use is highly dependent on fuel sulphur content. A diversified marine fuel mix demands tailoring lubricant selection to fuel Sulphur content to ensure compatibility with fuels bunkered across a fleet. The Taro® Ultra range offers the full lubricant solution , delivering high performance and protection, with the added benefit of being compatible with almost all main engines, marine bunker fuels and emission abatement technologies.
Following the implementation of IMO 2020 limits, Chevron has gained valuable experience from technical issues with very low-sulfur fuel oil (VLSFO<0.50%S) operations, the most widely used means of complying with the regulation, based on work with ship managers.
Contrary to popular perception, Chevron concluded that field issues were independent of engine type/brand (different engine models aged between 4-12 years using 5 major oil brands with BN ranging from 40 to 100 burning VLSFO which exhibited good combustion properties, experienced scuffing and/or red deposit cases). Nonetheless, Chevron’s observations underscored that most ship operators managed the transition seamlessly. Fuel quality was less variable than expected and accurate recommendations on cylinder lubrication helped prevent the worst fears from being realized.
Liner scuffing cases occurring only for individual cylinders with poor cylinder liner/piston ring pack condition. VLSFO in general has a higher energy content than HSFO, offering good value for users. But its different ignition properties have caused problems for some older engines. Meanwhile the methods used for flushing high-sulfur residues from tanks ahead of the regulation’s entry into force also contributed to an increase in cylinder condition challenges early in the year.
The lower sulfur content in marine fuel also reduces the safety margin between normal piston running, with a limited but manageable level of corrosion, and damaging abrasive or adhesive wear. To detect these conditions before they lead to irreversible engine damage Chevron recommends that operators employ a robust drip oil monitoring program. Chevron’s DOT®FAST service is a combination of onboard measurement of the total iron content by means of the DOT®FAST Analyzer (offering a level of accuracy comparable to laboratory testing) and the rest BN by means of the FAST Onboard Analyzer, as well as onshore drip oil analysis at the Chevron laboratories.
Strong views were exchanged during the enriching 60-minute knowledge sharing session which provided an open access platform with news, comments and expert analysis, organized by the IMarEST UAE branch which is synonymous with bringing great content to its audience and this webinar was no different. It gave maritime industry stakeholders the opportunity to mull over the longer-term perspective on lubrication solutions for the newbuilds or retrofitted ships that have plotted an environmentally friendly course.