Flame Diagnostic ensures NOx compliance regulations are upheld, without requiring any expensive third party equipment. Lower feed rate means less waste oil disposal, and efficient combustion means fewer emissions.

Environmental Compliance

In November 1997, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) issued Annex VI of the International Convention for the Pollution from Ships (otherwise known as Marpol 73/78) dealing with Air Pollution. Although adopted in November 1997, the regulations didn't come into force until 19th May 2005. Specifically (from IMO documentation):

Annex VI sets limits on emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from diesel engines. A NOx Technical Code, developed by IMO, defines how this is to be done.

Work carried out by leading industry research departments have shown that engines operating efficiently and within published guidelines meet the reguatory requirements of Annex VI. These have also declared that engines meeting the evaluation criteria of the Unified Technical File will be compliant with the NOx requirements of IMO Marpol 73/78 Annex VI. Flame Diagnostic monitors the NOx parameters defined by the Unified Technical File and provides an environmental section within the report that can be included within the ship technical file to demonstrate compliance with Annex VI.

Why is this important?

Ships are required to carry a compliance certificate issued by their flag state. The compliance inspectors need to determine comliance with the NOx regulations defined in Annex VI. Although there are third party 'add ons' which can monitor the NOx being emitted from the stack, MAN B&W have determined after extensive testing that no third party equipment need be installed or maintained in order to meet compliance. The collection of engine performance data together with verification of engine fuel injector cleanliness is sufficient to meet the regulations.

As part of a Flame Diagnostic report, the defined parameters and the condition of the fuel injectors are checked without needing to stop the engine or remove the injectors. Furthermore, the values reported by the ship in the engine performance data are verified using 'multi-phenomena'. This means that values used in the environmental compliance section are verified by looking at the combustion characteristics of the engine to give confidence in the reported figures.

This is best illustrated with a simple example: if the ship reports a good Pmax but we see combustion is poor, there is a very high probability that the Pmax figure is wrong. Why? Because poor combustion leads to a reduction in the maximum pressure created during the engine cycle. A Flame Diagnostic report looks at over 1000 different combinations like this when weighing its interpretations.

It is possible for a chief engineer to simply write the reported values for Pmax, Ptdc, etc. into the technical file for the ship but diligent ship and classification society inspectors will ask the chief to prove that the figures he has written are accurate. Flame Diagnostic provides that proof.

But, of course, there is much more to Annex VI than simple compliance. The spirit of Annex VI and the next revision, due to come into force in 2010, looks at other pollutants. The Flame Diagnostic report already comments upon hydrocarbon and particulate pollution.

Values used in the environmental compliance section are verified by looking at the combustion characteristics of the engine to give confidence in the reported figures.
Monitoring injector function to ensure efficient combustion.