Ship emissions: Scrubbed and cleaned

There is a lot of criticism regarding ship transport: Because most ships utilize heavy oil as fuel, they emit high amounts of sulfur dioxide into their environment. For coastal areas in particular, these emissions pose a great risk to people and the environment. The International Maritime Organization has responded and significantly reduced limits for the amount of sulfur dioxide in fuel: from 2020, the amount of sulfur dioxide may not exceed 0.5 percent globally; a limit of 0.1 percent has already been in effect for the North and Baltic Seas as well as for the coasts of North America since 2015.

By installing Scrubbers („Washers“), sulfur emissions are cleaned from exhaust gases, allowing strict environmental requirements to be met. Scrubbers clean the flue gas resulting from the burning of fuel and can be installed in the flue of the main engine (single line installation) or in multiple ship components, e.g. in the main engine, the auxiliary engines or the boiler (multi stream variant). This allows for open loop, closed loop and hybrid processes.

Why is Bilfinger your perfect partner? The advantages at a glance:

- Bilfinger has more than 40 years of experience in desulfurization technology
- The solutions offered by Bilfinger cover all proven scrubber technologies
- The time needed to install the scrubber technologies developed by Bilfinger is very low – normally two to three months
- A scrubber generally pays for itself within two to three years


Desulfurization technology and scrubber processes have a long tradition at Bilfinger. In the area of flue gas purification, we have bundled our solutions for ship transport in our subsidiary, Bilfinger Engineering & Technologies.

Reference for the Bilfinger solution for desulfurization of ship engines

SOx-Scrubber for the ocean tanker M/T Aurelia

In 2016, Bilfinger installed a hybrid scrubber system in the M/T Aurelia, an ocean tanker belonging to the shipping company Carl Büttner Shipmanagement GmbH. For the desulfurization process, different sources of sulfur such as the main engine, the auxiliary diesel and the boiler were integrated into the system and operated under various conditions. The conversion phase lasted 19 days. Lars Bremer, Managing Director of Carl Büttner Shipmanagement GmbH: “In Bilfinger we have gained an extremely competent and, above all, reliable partner for the purification of flue gas. The economic benefits of the scrubber concept and Bilfinger’s many years of experience impressed us.”


Michael Bernhardt

Michael Bernhardt

Member of the Executive Board
Operational responsibility for Technologies ad interim

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Our customer promise: Bilfinger's scrubber solutions reduce the Sulphur dioxide concentration in the exhaust gas emitted by heavy oil to below the required legal limits.

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