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VDL Groep to reduce ship emissions

September 2017

Following on from the electrification of heavy duty mobility in the form of cars, buses, automated guided vehicles and tractor units, VDL Groep intends to continue help reducing the emissions from means of transport. The family-owned international industrial business headquartered in Eindhoven will now be supplying systems for ships that comply with the latest international requirements on the emission of harmful substances. For this project, VDL has entered into a joint venture with AEC Maritime, the Eindhoven-based specialist in air cleaning, that develops and markets filter systems for ships. These so-called scrubbers filter the sulphur particles and other components from the exhaust gases emitted by ship engines.

The new collaboration between the two companies, operating under the name VDL AEC Maritime, was launched on 1 September 2017. VDL AEC Maritime is based in Eindhoven. Scrubbers are nothing new to VDL. VDL KTI in Mol (Belgium) manufactured and supplied the first scrubbers in 2013 to AEC Maritime, the company that holds the patent for the scrubber system. In this particular technology, seawater is used to clean and store the environmentally burdensome particles on the ship. The scrubber is installed in the vessel’s funnel. The exhaust gas from the engine enters the scrubber at the bottom end, eventually leaving the scrubber at the top, as clean, white smoke. Water droplets in the scrubber absorb sulphur, soot, ash and oil particles, and the contaminated water in the system is subsequently cleaned on board the vessel.

Advantage Damen Green Solutions (part of Damen Shipyards Group) will be responsible for the complete installation of the scrubbers, subject to a collaboration agreement entered into between VDL AEC Maritime and the Gorinchem-based ship building group. “The biggest advantage of this new joint venture is that it offers customers one-stop shopping for the entire process from sale and engineering, through to production and installation of the scrubbers,” explained Kevin Kuijs, director of VDL AEC Maritime. Co-owner and technical director Marcel Clephas at AEC Maritime added, “The efficiency and solid financial basis offered by VDL Groep are essential for the growth of our business. Moreover, we are no strangers to one another: VDL KTI is already responsible for manufacturing our scrubbers.”

Requirements Since 2015, ship operators have been faced with stricter requirements governing the emissions from environmentally burdensome fuel oil. Starting in 2020, new standards will apply to all waters, worldwide. From that date onwards, sulphur emissions of between 0.1 and 0.5 percent will be permitted, as compared to the 3.5 percent vessels are currently allowed to emit. Against the background of this new regulation, VDL Groep is confident in the market potential for scrubbers: worldwide, around 70,000 ships will be required to restrict their emissions. One alternative is cleaner fuel oil, with a higher cost of consumption. Fitting a filter system is a more cost-saving alternative. Depending on the size of the vessel and the price of oil, the payback time for the investment is around two years.

VDL Groep

Strength through cooperation. That is the cornerstone of VDL Groep, the international industrial family business headquartered in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. The company was founded in 1953 by Pieter van der Leegte. Initially VDL Groep specialised in metalworking. Later the portfolio was expanded to include plastics processing, the development, manufacture and sales of buses and coaches, and high‑tech subcontracting for the semiconductor industry and others. Today VDL Groep is a major player in the subcontracting and semi-finished products sectors, produces its own finished products, such as suspension systems, is active in automotive factory automation, builds heat exchangers and container handling systems, and the family business owns VDL Nedcar in Born, the Netherlands' only large passenger car assembly factory, which carries out assembly line production of cars for third parties. VDL Groep innovates through a combination of craftsmanship, entrepreneurship and high‑quality machinery. The group of companies combines the clout of a multinational with the flat organisation and open, informal working atmosphere of a family business where priority is given to growth opportunities and continuity. VDL Groep operates with approximately 16,000 employees in 19 countries. The group comprises 93 operating companies, each with its own speciality, which work together intensively. The combined annual turnover in 2016 was 3.2 billion euros. In November 2016, after 50 years of entrepreneurship, Wim van der Leegte passed the reins of the family business to the management team, which includes his three children Pieter, Jennifer and Willem. Willem van der Leegte has succeeded his father as President and CEO of VDL Groep. Wim van der Leegte has joined the Supervisory Board.

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Damen Green Solutions introduces new Modular Approach for retrofitting scrubbers

June 2017

Cuts time spent in dock from weeks to days

Damen Green Solutions (DGS) in partnership with Damen Shiprepair & Conversion (DSC) and AEC Maritime is trialling a new technique for retrofitting scrubbers. Designated the Modular Approach, this new process is designed to cut the time that a vessel typically needs to spend in dock from two or more weeks to just a few days. This dramatic reduction in downtime, in combination with a more cost-efficient, certified scrubber, will be welcomed by ship owners and operators. The first installation of this type is already underway for the RoRo cargo vessel Stena Scotia.

The key to achieving this sharp fall in downtime for the vessel is maximising the amount of preparatory and manufacturing work that can be completed before the vessel arrives in the dock. This happens in two parallel processes. In one of these, the scrubbers and their supporting systems are fitted into two prefabricated modules while still in the workshop. The first module contains the scrubber plus all the necessary piping and electronics. The second houses all the auxiliary equipment including the pumps, heat exchanger and separators. These can then be tested and optimised in advance of the actual installation.

At the same time, preparatory works are undertaken on board the vessel at times agreed with the ship that do not interfere with its scheduled operations. In the case of the Stena Scotia, the preparations on board, including steelwork and pipe-fitting, will take place over a number of weekends during routine overnight stopovers.

The result of the prefabrication process plus preparation works means that when the ship does finally arrive at a Damen yard, the technical team can focus on the final stage of the retrofit process; attaching and linking up the two, fully operational modules to a ship that is ready and prepared to receive them. This last stage represents the third module of the operation.

Damen Green Solutions, the arm of the Damen Shipyards Group responsible for developing and implementing low-emissions and environmentally-friendly solutions, has oversight of the entire process including commissioning and training. It does this in close coordination with Damen Shiprepair & Conversion (DSC) and, in the case of Stena Scotia, Damen Shiprepair Rotterdam.

“With the need to access the vessel during its regular operations to undertake the preparations, it is vital to work very closely with the owner and crew to make the hours available as productive as possible,” says project manager Stef Loffeld. “Fortunately, DSC’s Harbour & Voyage teams are expert at working efficiently and unobtrusively when a ship is still in an operational mode. We also cooperate closely in the engineering phase with AEC, the suppliers of the scrubbing systems, to optimise the installation of the various components for maximum efficiency and operability. The result is a fast and effective installation with minimum downtime.”

Marcel Karsijns, Director of Damen Green Solutions, commented: “The combination of AEC’s simple yet effective scrubbers and Damen’s innovative installation approach significantly reduces up-front costs and reduces the payback period of the investment. We expect this solution to receive strong support in the market.”

Jurriën de Vries, sales director of AEC Maritime, concluded; “The close co-operation between Damen and AEC has resulted in this new modular approach for retrofitting SOx scrubbers. This is yet another example of the AEC philosophy; ‘SOx scrubbing made simple’.”

Join us in Oslo at Nor-Shipping 2017

May 2017

Nor-Shipping is the leading maritime event week taking place from May 30 - June 2. Together with Damen Shipyards Group we are in Oslo to help you find the most simple solution to your scrubbing challenges. Meet us at booth U-05 opposite the East entrance and we will answer all your questions.

Damen and AEC Maritime join forces for scrubber solutions

August 2016

Sales Agreement furthers ‘one-stop-shop’ retrofit philosophy

Damen Shipyards Group has signed a Sales Agreement with scrubber producer AEC Maritime. Damen will now be able to offer ship owners exclusive access to efficient, low maintenance and IMO-certified exhaust gas scrubber technologies.

With the inclusion of scrubber expertise to its existing knowledge of Ballast Water Treatment Systems, Damen has added an important facet to its strategy of providing ship owners with a total solution regarding the latest IMO requirements.

Flexible scrubber

AEC Maritime is a business that draws upon substantial experience and cooperation with sister company AEC Systems whose air cleaning products for various land-based industries have been developed in close cooperation with the VDL-Group. With more than 20 years’ experience, AEC Systems has installed more than 2,600 land-based scrubber systems.

In diversifying to maritime scrubber systems four years ago, AEC Maritime used the same key ideas that had proved so successful in these land-based products. “Our scrubber systems focus on three strong principles,” informs AEC Maritime Chief Technical Officer Marcel Clephas. “To make scrubber installation simple, to optimise the price of the product with the cost of installation, and, finally, to deliver reliable and low maintenance systems.”

AEC’s scrubbers also afford ship owners a great deal of flexibility. They can be installed on all types of engine and they allow vessels to run on traditional Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) instead of the more expensive Marine Gas Oil (MGO).

In terms of efficiency, the company’s scrubbers remove more than 98% of sulphur from exhaust gases; thus exceeding IMO requirements. The systems also comply with MARPOL Annex VI (MEPC 58 and 59).

To date, numerous AEC Maritime scrubber systems have not only been installed, but are currently in effective operation for various clients in the shipping industry.

The market is now

While AEC Maritime’s scrubbers have met with success in the shipping industry, a limiting factor for the company was that it lacked a maritime background. “We knew that ship owners will always need to go to a yard for a retrofit,” continues Mr Clephas. “But we discovered that clients want turnkey solutions – that include all aspects of the retrofit – to be carried out under one roof.”

AEC Maritime’s response was to look for a suitable maritime partner capable of offering that scope. “We are happy to have found that partner in Damen. This is an important time for the scrubber sector: in fact, the market is now.”

An important combination

Talking about the advantages of the Sales Agreement to ship owners, Damen Director Green Solutions Marcel Karsijns comments: “This will allow all activities – on-board visits, 3D-scanning, Engineering, Piping, Project Management and Installation – to be executed under one roof. It will really unburden the client.” The Agreement also details AEC’s involvement in after sales service and maintenance contracts.

“AEC Maritime’s products are fabricated with excellent materials – and they have a proven track record with numerous clients. Furthermore, their scrubbers are IMO-certified.

“Combined with Damen Shiprepair & Conversion’s wealth of experience with retrofit activities – executed not only at competitive costs but with short lead times – this recognised product further strengthens Damen’s ‘one-stop-shop’ philosophy for clients looking for comprehensive solutions.”