Dealing with the unintended consequences of progress
11th April 2014 13:18 GMT

In a challenging economic climate, the shipping industry has become increasingly focused on maximising efficiency and cutting costs. However, as new eco efficiency technologies and measures develop, some bring with them unintended yet detrimental consequences. As shipowners use more new generation engines, such as Mark 8.1 or newer, to achieve improved fuel oil consumption they are, as a result, utilising longer piston strokes, allowing the cylinder walls to cool more than the older engine designs.

Despite the improved efficiencies that come with longer piston strokes, this process also means water will condense on the surfaces of the cylinder liners, which reacts with the sulphur dioxide in the combustion gasses, leading to the formation of sulphuric acid and resulting in corrosion on the liner surface. The resulting iron compounds formed by this process are flushed into the cylinder oil, leading to excessive wear of the cylinder liner, the average replacement costs of which up are to $150,000.

In recent service letters, engine manufacturer (OEM), MAN Diesel & Turbo has highlighted the importance of accurate and efficient monitoring of the conditions within the cylinder chamber in order to minimise cold corrosion.

Having conducted extensive research into the issue, Parker Kittiwake has concluded that regular testing provides shipowners with a comprehensive overview of conditions within the cylinder chamber, allowing operators to avoid costly repair bills by addressing harmful levels of corrosive elements before they cause damage. Measuring the concentration of iron compounds in used cylinder oil will give an indication of the level of corrosion within the cylinder.

Moreover, with OEMs now advocating the use of higher BN lubricants in newer engine designs in order to minimise the issue of corrosion, more unintended consequences emerge as scrape down oil is continually exposed to acidic combustion products that need to be neutralised before they corrode engine parts. Effective testing allows operators to monitor the efficiency of lubricants over a long period of time, maximising the potential life of the product, as well as saving both the cost and time incurred with repairs resulting from corrosive damage.

With accurate and detailed data key to preventing corrosion, having quick and easy access to comprehensive data on-board means that operators can understand the exact operating conditions within the cylinders and easily identify where adjustments can be made to minimise corrosive wear and reduce
cost. The recently launched Parker Kittiwake Cold Corrosion Test Kit is the latest innovation in the range of solutions designed to give the most comprehensive analysis of corrosive wear in cylinder lubricants. When used in conjunction with ferro-magnetic analysers such as LinerSCAN, or the Shell Analex Alert, the shipowner will have an accurate measure of both metallic and corroded iron in the scrape down oil.

As the shipping industry embraces new eco efficiency technologies, fast and easy access to the necessary data ensures that shipowners and operators are better armed against cold corrosion. Accurate condition monitoring is the most effective means of mitigating the risk before it occurs, ensuring that optimum operational efficiency is not unduly affected by the unintended consequences of energy efficient technologies.

Dr. Steve Dye,
11th April 2014 13:18 GMT

Comments on this Blog
Heinz Otto
22nd April 2014
Hi, Dr. Steve Dye
unexpected consequences of all progress can be expected anywhere, even in ever larger (container) ships.
The energy consumption per TEU is smaller, but these ships always have more powerful engines with appropriate amounts of exhaust gas. The consequence of this is a massive air pollution, ocean acidification, etc ......
A self-determined consequence must be with limited oil inventories: A change from oil to wind propulsion for ships.
The DynaRig of Prölss is known since 1960, more than 50 years and Maltese Falcon sails so since 2006. Now it is up to the shipping companies and the IMO to start the change at last. Check this latest TV-Production:
regards, Heinz Otto
Heinz Otto
17th June 2014
Good day you all,
Unfortunately, there was a problem with my YOUTUBE indication of ARTE film about wind ships.
So please go to the French version of the film:
AND: please watch a conference on WIND SHIPS in Harlingen on 04/07/2014 (
Furthermore THANKS to SS for the daily NEWS on environmental issues in the world shipping industry.
Best regards, Heinz Otto

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