Scrubbers Technology was not a Proper Solution


A study by Germany’s Nature and Bio diversity Conservation Union reports

“Scrubbers are not a proper solution to stop the air pollution from ships”.


 NABU CEO Miller

  • Discharging harmful substances into the ocean instead of air, is not the proper solution.- NABU CEO Leif Miller.
  • As per ecological and economical terms Scrubbers cannot be considered as a solution.- according to the report of NABU.

Benefits Considered:

  • Since January 1,2015 fuel used by vessels operating within Emission control areas has been limited to a maximum Sulfur content of 0.10% by weight which was previously 1.0%.
  • Non-compliant fuel is permitted to be used in conjunction with technology, such as scrubbers, that reduces vessel emissions by an equivalent amount.



  • It is assumed that Persistent substances like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, heavy metals such as mercury, lead and arsenic as well as nitrates and sulfur accumulate in marine environment.
  • This may also lead to an infringement of critical loads overtime and particular in areas with dense ship traffic.
  • The same is true with regards the acidification of the ocean.

Statistical Data on Scrubbers:

  • The market for scrubbers is highly dynamic due to the recent lightning of the sulfur limits within ECAs.
  • Around 80 scrubbers were in operation at the time of writing across a global fleet of 55,000 vessels, with a further 300 on order.
  • The majority of the 14,000 ships affected by ECA rules are choosing to switch to marine gas-oil (MGO) within ECA limits, the use of scrubbers as a method of sulfur compliance will grow,
  • Carnival,world’s largest cruise operator, said that underway with installation of Scrubbers on at least 70 of its fleet.


  • It allows ship owners to continue to sail on heavy fuel oil instead of Investing in cleaner fuels and eco- friendly drives.
  • Ship owners invest a lot of money in a wrong technology when they opt for Scrubbers.
  • The business case for scrubbers, which enables the continued use of cheaper, heavy fuel oil (HFO) bunkers, has been too optimistically stated.


  • Investing  in LNG or MGO combined with particle filter and selective catalytic reductions is an alternative.
  • Its economic model suggests a best case scenario of €500,000 ($523,000) of benefit annually per ship, with NABU’s announcement adding that “it is very hard to develop a positive business case for scrubber operation” at current bunker prices


  • In the month of January, The International Maritime Organisation agreed to update the guidelines about the scrubber wash water.
  • It allows for a calculation based method of measuring acidity levels of discharged wash water.


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