Pumping system compatibility check

Importance of fuel pump compatibility with new fuels

Traditionally, onboard fuel handling systems comprise pumps designed for HFO/MDO use.

The current IMO 2020 regulations require vessels to use low-sulphur fuels more frequently or continuously. The majority of these distillate fuels will have a sulphur content of between 0.5% and 0.1%. These fuels carry the risk of causing a reduction in pumping capacity because of their different viscosities.

The very different properties of these fuel types call for a professional pump compatibility check before any new type of fuel can be successfully introduced into the system.

Upgrades may be necessary to ensure pumping capacity and lubricity for main and auxiliary engines.  Auramarine's well-trained service engineers can carry out the fuel pump compatibility check for you. If an upgrade is needed based on the inspection outcome, Auramarine will deliver the correct parts, carry out the assembly and test the pump function and performance.

What should be checked?

For screw pumps, correct clearances and dimension measurements are important for maintaining the required pumping capacity. Pumps should be inspected for signs of wear and tear, including checking the condition of the gaskets. Screw dimensions should also be investigated to ensure lubricity compatibility in relation to the new fuels.

Practical steps include an investigation of the pump’s properties to ensure it meets the requirements set by the new fuels. If the documentation is not available, a picture of the pump name plate can often provide Auramarine with sufficient information.

  • clearances
  • gaskets
  • wear and tear
  • dimensions
  • lubricity compatibility
  • documentation

Steps to maintain correct pumping capacity

If the pumps need to be replaced, Auramarine can help by defining the specifications for a new pump and deliver ones that are compatible with the new fuels and are the correct size in terms of dimensions and capacity. Auramarine can also provide a completely updated fuel system piping and instrumentation diagram for classification purposes. Throughout all modification processes, cost-efficiency and system flexibility are key considerations.

Mechanical pumps can come with magnetic coupling as an option. This helps to eliminate possible shaft seal leakages.

Pump replacements can usually be carried out during a longer port stay and an Auramarine delivery includes all the elements necessary for this process to run smoothly. A typical delivery comprises the pump and all relevant instructions and technical support. Pump replacements may require minor changes to a vessel’s original pipework.

If the vessel has a fuel changeover system, an emergency pump to act as a black-start pump unit is worth considering for added redundancy.