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Tanker Shipping & Trade

50 years on, pioneer of oil and gas safety tech still sees room to grow

Wed 10 Jan 2018 by Jamey Bergman

50 years on, pioneer of oil and gas safety tech still sees room to grow
Alfa Laval Smit's Eddie Gensen stands next to the Smit Inert Gas Generator he helped to develop

An equipment manufacturer for safety technologies used onboard product and chemical tankers and LNG vessels said it is investing in “innovative solutions” for an evolving market based on a lifetime of work from one of its longest-serving employees.

Inert gas generator manufacturer Smit, owned by Alfa Laval, tapped Eddie Gensen – who started at Willem Smit & Co inEddie Gensen as a 15-year-old in 1965 1966 as a 16-year-old technical apprentice (pictured right) – to offer a bird’s eye view of the technology’s history and its future in the marine industry.

Mr Gensen, who is now semi-retired, said the future still holds opportunity in the business sector where he helped to develop the first Smit Inert Gas system for maritime use in 1967 and has continued to innovate for more than 50 years.

"From what I see, we will always have new types of ships who need inert gas," Mr Gensen said.

Mr Gensen said the uptake in the use of gas as fuel is one industry trend that offers an opportunity for growth, and that the need for Alfa Laval Smit inert gas technologies remains high on tankers, too.

The technology has been a requirement for fire prevention on newbuild oil and chemical tankers under IMO’s SOLAS regulations since 1 January 2016, but classification societies have been demanding the systems be installed on vessels since 1981 after the late 1970s saw a spate of tanker explosions.

Mr Gensen worked to develop inert gas systems both with and without steam generators for use on LNG and tanker vessels, respectively. Although they are not needed for use on tankers, the inert gas systems with steam generators produce higher-quality inert gases and – for that reason – remain in use on board LNG vessels.

Alfa Laval said that the contributions of Mr Gensen and his teams of engineers are still driving its company forward.

“The core Smit technology remains unchanged from the very first inert gas systems installed in the 1960s and 1970s. But today, Alfa Laval is harnessing the lessons Eddie and his colleagues learned from five decades of continuous development to invest in innovative solutions to the new challenges facing marine customers.”

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