Marine Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems are the difference between being profitable or not

Marine Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems are the difference between being profitable or not



The price spreads between high and low-sulphur bunker fuels have been increasing steadily, driven primarily by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and recovering oil demand following the Covid pandemic.  Maritime operators and shipowners are now staring at a significant gap in earnings between vessels that must burn VLSFO/MGO and those that can burn HSFO.

Since the IMO regulation’s enforcement date on January 1, 2020, ship owners have been forced to burn expensive bunker fuel containing 0.5% sulphur (VLSFO), or fuels with even lower 0.1% sulphur content (MGO).  Increasingly, the fuel price differential between these low sulphur fuels and traditional HSFO determines if a voyage is profitable or not, and owners that have to burn low sulphur fuels are scrambling to find ways to compete.  

Fuel costs can be reduced by 30-40% by the installation of an exhaust gas cleaning system (EGCS) or scrubber, which allows burning cheaper HSFO whilst adhering to the IMO 2020 mandate.  Traditionally, a wet scrubber has been used, which uses seawater and hazardous chemicals to dilute the exhaust gases, and in open loop mode releases harmful wash water back into the sea.  These systems are very expensive to purchase and install, and require significant modifications to a vessel, including a drydock to enlarge the sea chest to allow for greater water intake for the scrubber operation.  These systems also require significant amounts of electricity to operate, and maintenance is extensive because of the caustic nature of the system water.

Dry Powder Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems – a new cost-effective and sustainable solution from SodaFlexx

The SodaFlexx EGCS is based on decades of experience in dry powder handling, and is based on established technology used in cleaning exhaust from land based power plants.  It operates under a simple principle: injection of a powdered absorbent (Sodium Bicarbonate aka NaHCO3) directly into the exhaust gas stream to react with the SOx compounds and transforms them to a benign salt, sodium sulphate aka Na2SO4).  There is no harmful discharge from the Sodaflexx EGCS, because no hazardous chemicals are used or produced, and no wash water is generated. 

SodaFlexx offer systems integrated into existing vessel spaces, and our new containerised systems offer modular installations that can be installed in days.  All SodaFlexx systems are easy to install and do not require special materials or piping, and there is no need for a drydock as no water is used at any time in the operation, so no need to increase water intake.

Sodium Bicarbonate absorbent is produced in many locations globally, and SodaFlexx has partnered with leading manufacturers such as Solvay who invented the production process some 160 years ago.  Deliveries are via pneumatic truck/barge, and for container vessels, containerised charge units are delivered before the vessel’s port call.  

All operations are handled by SodaFlexx’s logistics team that offers a 24/7 global service.

Recently the operators of “Bontrup Amsterdam”, BONTRUP, and Aggregate Industries, have contracted the next generation SodaFlexx dry powder exhaust gas cleaning system to be installed on the 65,402 dwt “Bontrup Amsterdam.” This is after the successful SodaFlexx installation on their vessel “Yeoman Bridge.”

Why choose a dry EGCS system?


  • Low CAPEX – 100% system payback in less than  6 months in many cases.

  • Quick installation:  EGCS can be installed in 3 days or less, and the total project time is only 4-5 months

  • Sodium Bicarbonate is safe to handle – non-corrosive, non-irritant, non-toxic, and neutral

  • Minimal maintenance

  • No hazardous chemicals are released

Burning HSFO with an exhaust gas cleaning system has proven to be less CO2 intensive than using MGO or VLSFO on a “well to wake” basis, and as most engines were designed to burn HFO, maintenance and lubrication protocols are as intended.  

Why SodaFlexx?

SodaFlexx International has generations of engineering experience, and provides innovative solutions that are attractive from both economic and environmental perspectives. During the transition to alternative fuels, there is still a need to operate the existing fleet in the most sustainable way possible, and our systems allow existing vessels to operate in the most efficient manner possible. We also have system options that provide Particulate Matter capture that will offer an innovative system with low CAPEX and quick installation it is the SodaFlexx way.