The MGO Cooler has been developed in response to the MARPOL sulphur emission regulations. Currently, the most widely used fuel in the shipping industry is Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO). Because of its high content in sulphur and heavy metals, sea going vessels burning HFO emit large amounts of air pollutants, and are consequently a major environmental issue worldwide. The MARPOL sulphur emission regulations have been implemented through a series of deadlines that progressively lower the maximum sulphur content of the fuel over years.
Ships sailing in ECA waters have already updated their operations to stricter sulphur limitations in 2010, mainly by switching to Low Sulphur Fuel Oil with a maximum sulphur content of 1.0%. In upcoming regulations the allowed maximum sulphur content will be set to 0.1%. Technically, this is impossible to achieve in a HFO. Therefore, shipping operators currently face a great challenge on how to implement the technical solutions to adapt existing or future installations to the new MARPOL standards.
MGO cooling systems
In the short term, switching to MGO/MDO is the only reliable alternative at the moment for ships operating in ECA waters. Fuel oil viscosity depends on the temperature and can be raised by gradually cooling the fuel down. There are four possible means to cool MGO:
- Sea water coolers. Implemented by the simple use of a heat exchanger. This option is not recommended due to risk of fuel leakages into the sea water.
- Fresh water coolers. The LT cooling water available on board (typically at 36˚C) is used as the cooling agent. This temperature is not low enough to meet the viscosity requirements when low sulphur (low viscosity) MGO is used for shipping within ECA.
- Direct expansion cooling system. Based on a vapour-compression refrigeration cycle with freon-to-fuel heat-exchangers. Although simple and inexpensive, this alternative presents certain problems, like inaccurate control of the cooler surface temperature, safety issues and limited operation at low load (impossible below 25% of the cooling capacity).
- Chilled fresh water/sea water cooling system. Chilled water is produced through a vapour-compression refrigeration cycle. Although more expensive than the previous solutions, it provides trouble free operation at all loads, precise surface control and safe performance even with leakages.
The Heinen & Hopman MGO cooler
The MGO cooler has been developed based upon decades of experience in successful worldwide sold and operating Heinen & Hopman marine chillers. Heinen & Hopman has translated their expertise in climate control to fully meet their clients’ needs when adapting their operation to the upcoming emission limitations. Thanks to a precise fuel temperature control, the MGO cooler ensures an optimal protection for any type of engine when fuel is switched from HFO to MGO.
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