The shipping industry is continually experiencing regulatory changes driven by increasing environmental concerns, resulting in ever-tightening regulations restricting sulfur (S) emissions from ships' fuel. It has been announced by the UN's shipping agency that the new sulfur IMO 2020 (International Maritime Organizations) guidelines for the sulfur content of marine fuel (bunker fuel) at sea will drop from 3.5 wt% to 0.5 wt% in early 2020. The sulfur content of traditional bunker fuels used in the shipping industry will therefore need to be blended down to these lower concentrations to meet the new specifications.
As a premium low-cost benchtop Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence (EDXRF) analyzer, the Rigaku NEX QC MFA (marine fuel analyzer) delivers compliance with ASTM D4294 and similar methods with an easy-to-learn software interface in a robust package specifically designed for the marine fuel industry. Optimized for routine determination of sulfur in oil, the new Rigaku NEX QC MFA features an intuitive and modern "icon-driven" touch screen interface for easy operation and a built-in thermal printer for convenience. NEX QC MFA is calibrated from 0.05 to 3.5wt% S and is accurate to within 10ths of a ppm at 0.5wt% S, easily meeting the needs of existing ECA and new IMO 2020 requirements. In addition to S monitoring, it also can monitor the Ni, V and Fe content in bunker fuels as well as Zn as a proxy for heavy metal contamination from waste oils.
Although in-line sulfur gauging has been in use for years, early systems did not produce consistent measurements. For precise on-line determination of sulfur, the Rigaku NEX XT Advanced XRT Total Sulfur Gauge resolves the issues inherent in older technologies and is optimized to be an ideal tool for blending operations supplying marine bunker fuels.
Featuring uniquely engineered hardware and novel proprietary software technologies, the NEX XT system is faster, more sensitive and much more compact than previous generation systems, and can operate as a stand-alone analyzer or provide real time closed loop control when tied into a blending or plant wide automation system. With a sulfur detection range of 0.02 - 6%, the NEX XT analyzer capable of meeting the analysis requirements for the new regulations.
Because the NEX XT utilizes a transmission technique and unique flow cell design, coatings of paraffin or other deposits on the analysis windows which may occur during normal operations do not affect the sulfur measurement as the coatings are a negligible part of the total X-ray path.
In addition to compliance monitoring for the new IMO guidelines, applications for the NEX XT analyzer also include bunker fuel blending to meet MARPOL Annex VI sulfur restrictions, interface detection of different grade fuels delivered via pipelines, refinery feedstock blending and monitoring, and the quality monitoring of crude at remote collection and storage facilities.
The results of the aforementioned application report demonstrate that, whether used for crude oil blending and monitoring, assaying or blending marine bunker fuels or switching pipelines, the Rigaku NEX XT process analyzer is well suited to meet the varying industry demands.
Applied Rigaku Technologies, Inc. has published two application report that detail the measurement of sulfur in heavy and light oils to satisfy the needs of refineries, pipelines, blending operations, bunkering terminals and other storage facilities, while ensuring compliance with the new standards. The reports include complete information about sample preparation, method calibration and repeatability and demonstrates the equipment performance: