A systems perspective on practical experiences of marine SCR installations
Paper in proceedings, 2012
The transition towards sustainable sea transport systems, with growing customer demands and more stringent regulations to reduce harmful air emissions from ships, has resulted in an increased interest for the installation of abatement technologies on board. A selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system is presently one of the most effective ways to reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) on ships. However, previous research has mostly concentrated on land based stationary and mobile applications, not taking into account the particular conditions valid for marine applications. Moreover, it has primarily focused on engineering principles, not regarding the human elements present in any system.
The present paper applies a systems perspective and explores the human‐machine aspects of marine SCR installations in Swedish short sea shipping. The aim is to identify important not only technical, but also human and organizational conditions necessary for safe, efficient and sustainable operations of SCR catalysts on ships. Further, to investigate to what extent the capabilities and limitations of human operators and maintainers are taken into account in the design and installation phase of the systems.
Two focus group interviews and five individual interviews were held. The participants (n=10) in the focus groups represented two different SCR manufacturers, one in each focus group, and six Swedish short sea shipping companies. Individual interviews were held with informants recruited from the Swedish Shipowners’ Association, the Swedish Maritime Administration, a marine mutual insurance company, a large buyer of dry cargo transport, and with a vetting coordinator at an oil company. The focus groups and the individual interviews followed the same semi‐structured schedule on the themes installation, operation, maintenance and training and were recorded for transcript and analysis.
After the focus group interviews the participants anonymously answered a short questionnaire to assess if
all important aspects had been covered and the potential usefulness of the focus groups.
The results of the analysis indicate that deficiencies in the overall system design – with a combination of
technical equipment unsuitable for marine installations, maintenance access problems, and untrained operators with inadequate understanding of the SCR process – have led to inefficient, costly and unsafe operations. A number of technical and organizational conditions are identified as critical for forthcoming SCR installations in order to reach future environmental targets regarding NOx emissions from short sea shipping. Further, it is believed that the face‐to‐face focus group meetings had a positive impact on the common awareness among shipowners and SCR suppliers, creating an improved dialogue and knowledge transfer.
Selective Catalytic Reduction