A novel method for safety analysis of Cyber-Physical Systems - Application to a ship exhaust gas scrubber system

Victor Bolbot, Gerasimos Theotokatos, Evangelos Boulougouris, George Ad Psarros, Rainer Hamann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


Cyber-Physical Systems (CPSs) represent a systems category developed and promoted in the maritime industry to automate functions and system operations. In this study, a novel Combinatorial Approach for Safety Analysis is presented, which addresses the traditional safety methods’ limitations by integrating System Theoretic Process Analysis (STPA), Events Sequence Identification (ETI) and Fault Tree Analysis (FTA). The developed method results into the development of a detailed Fault Tree that captures the effects of both the physical components/subsystems and the software functions’ failures. The quantitative step of the method employs the components’ failure rates to calculate the top event failure rate along with criticality analysis metrics for identifying the most critical components/functions. This method is implemented for an exhaust gas open loop scrubber system safety analysis to estimate its failure rate and identify critical failures considering the baseline system configuration as well as various alternatives with advanced functions for monitoring and diagnostics. The results demonstrate that configurations with SOx sensor continuous monitoring or scrubber unit failure diagnosis/prognosis lead to significantly lower failure rate. Based on the analysis results, the advantages/disadvantages of the novel method are also discussed. This study also provides insights for better safety analysis of the CPSs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number26
Number of pages31
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2020


  • cyber-physical systems
  • system-theoretic process analysis
  • events sequence identification
  • fault tree analysis
  • exhaust gas open loop scrubber system


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