Scrubber Corrosion

Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS) – more commonly known as “scrubbers” – are currently being installed on thousands of vessels worldwide in order to comply with the IMO 2020 Sulphur Cap. And as a recent innovation within the maritime industry, they have not been without some early issues, including EGCS corrosion. The wash water from scrubbers, now containing pollutants it has filtered, is acidic and therefore highly corrosive. The effects of the acidic nature of the corrosive scrubber wash water on the integrity of the ship is further aggravated by the high temperatures of exhaust gases. It is now firmly established that the structural integrity of the scrubber and associated pipework (e.g. SOx scrubber discharge water line) need to be regularly checked for signs of corrosion.

Ultrasonic thickness gauging is a simple, inexpensive and reliable method to engage proactively with a schedule of preventative maintenance on scrubbers. Already, many companies around the world are choosing to use Cygnus thickness gauges on their vessels as part of routine scrubber structural integrity checks. Areas of particular interest and concern for vessels are the scrubber discharge outlet and the overboard pipe.

Cygnus Instruments was born in to the marine industry; our first gauges were designed 40 years ago specifically for hull inspection work. As a result, our MK5 units are all purpose-designed for a tough life on board a ship: they are waterproof (IP67), drop proof and shock proof (US MIL STD 810G standard). Readings taken can be logged and uploaded to simple software in order to be referred to later; thus wall thinning and corrosion can be easily monitored over time and any issues can be caught and addressed early.

In addition, Cygnus range of gauges all read through coatings of up to 20mm thick – which means there is no need to remove any of the important (and expensive) protective coatings or epoxy that safeguard against external scrubber corrosion. And, for heavily corroded metals where there is a thin or no coating left, Cygnus PLUS gauges incorporating Echo-Echo and Single-Echo measuring modes coupled with the Measurement Stability Indicator (MSI™) can give the quick and reliable readings you need.

Certified to ATEX, IECEx, UKEX for Zone 0 and NRTL for Class 1, Division 1 – the Cygnus 1 Ex thickness gauge is ideal for testing oil & gas tankers and has been a popular choice for scrubber inspections.