Monaco-based Scorpio Group has opened another front in its efforts to pursue decarbonisation as it tests fuel-emulsification technology aboard its tankers.

Scorpio is working with another Monaco-based company, FOWE Eco Solutions, which has developed a patented emulsification process touted to produce a fuel oil-water mixture that is more stable than previous products and without the use of chemical additives.

Scorpio has previously supported carbon capture specialist Carbon Ridge, battery technology developer Britishvolt and Tekever, which deals in emissions and pollution monitoring and enforcement.

Incremental steps

“We see the path to decarbonisation as a series of incremental steps, rather than one simple leap,” Scorpio chief executive Emanuele Lauro told TradeWinds.

“Unlocking the full potential of fuel oil emulsion with this new technology, particularly if it is coupled with other steps of carbon mitigation, is a direction of significant promise that we will continue to explore.”

FOWE said it uses a process called Cavitech that increases energy yield by 10%, reduces nitrogen oxides by 14% and also reduces sulphur and carbon emissions.

Potential customers can be refineries that benefit from increased light-end yields and reduced sludging, but also major consumers of fuel oil and diesel such as shipowners who achieve improved fuel efficiency with a low capital expenditure requirement, the company said.

The product has been tested in cooperation with leading European refineries and shipping companies, FOWE said.

“We are pleased with the opportunity to test our technology with the support of Scorpio Tankers,” said Branko Vugrinec, founder and chairman of FOWE.

“Cavitech is a user-friendly device, safe to operate on board and this test shows its potential to meaningfully contribute to the reduction of harmful emissions beyond CO2 without disrupting the current fuel supply chain.”

Scorpio said the FOWE technology had been successfully employed on voyages involving two vessels: the 109,000-dwt STI Connaught (built 2015) and the 110,000-dwt STI Lily (built 2019).

Positive findings

The second trial aboard the STI Lily was attended by surveyors from DNV and China State Shipbuilding Corp (CSSC) who witnessed the production of the fuel oil-water (12%) emulsion mixture on board and the operation of the four-stroke diesel generators and two-stroke main engine, Scorpio said.

About 100 tonnes of emulsion were produced and consumed with no operational issues to engines during the voyage from Algeciras, Spain, to Shell Haven in the UK, Scorpio said.

Analysis by bunker fuel testing company VPS confirmed the stability of the emulsion, it said.

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It is too soon to determine whether Scorpio will broaden use of the technology to other vessels in its fleet of more than 100, Scorpio said.

“It’s premature to say that — FOWE has to go through a few steps before that can happen,” a Scorpio representative said.

“Emulsion is recognised as a technology that has benefits and reduces emissions in general. But this still has to be accepted by the engine manufacturers and insurance. I think there will be interest once FOWE manages to get accepted by the MANs and the Wartsilas of the world.”