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Keeping the sea air clean

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Did you know that in 2019, almost 30 percent of the world’s manufactured goods were made in China, followed closely by the United States, and then Japan. Ships criss-cross the globe transporting these products to consumers in countries around the world. Whilst shipping is traditionally far less polluting per kilometre travelled than other means of goods transport, the last five years has seen a steep rise in regulations aimed at shipping to help protect the marine environment for future generations. How can technology help meet or exceed these stringent regulations and help keep the sea air clean?

Many shipping companies have already adopted strategies to reduce their environmental impact. As of 1 January 2020, the low sulphur and nitrous oxide emission limits in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations became effective worldwide, requiring shipping operators to limit sulphur emissions from their vessels to 0.50 percent. The industry is also targeted with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% from 2008 levels.

Sailing towards lower emissions

The combined efforts of bodies such as the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), shipbuilders and shipping operators have helped to make enormous strides in reducing emissions in recent years, with a combination of regulations, new technologies and changes in ship design all helping to reduce pollution and improve vessel efficiency. Nevertheless, the growing volume of goods being shipped around the world means that the shipping industry continues to have a significant environmental impact. According to a 2017 study by the International Council on Clean Transportation, if shipping were a country, it would be the 6th largest carbon emitter on the planet. While emissions remain lower than that of road haulage or aviation, there are yet further improvements that can be made.

Optimizing combustion

The enormous hard-working diesel engines in shipping are incredibly efficient, and waste heat is often used for generating power. Slow steaming is a popular way of saving fuel and helping operators make significant fuel savings and reduce emissions, however running at a reduced speed can reduce engine efficiency and over long periods of time can increase soot deposits on moving engine parts and cause premature wear and tear of vital components. Accurate combustion measurement can help further optimize fuel efficiency and thus reduce emissions. ABB’s AZ10 Combustion Oxygen analyzer helps to optimize performance of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) in diesel engines. EGR is an effective way of reducing nitrogen oxide emissions by lowering the concentration of oxygen in the combustion chamber. Optimized combustion control and engine performance is key to reducing emissions and improving fuel efficiency

Monitoring emissions

The introduction of increasingly stringent regulations in recent years has increasingly driven the need to effectively monitor emissions from engines, making it important to have a good understanding of the types of gases to be measured and reporting frequency required. ABB is an expert in emission monitoring with more than 60 years’ experience to draw on and 60,000 systems installed in over 100 countries. ABB’s recently launched CEMcaptain continuous emission monitoring solution for the marine industry consistently achieves more than 98 percent uptime, ensuring reliable compliance and reduced maintenance. CEMcaptain reliably measures both sulphur and carbon dioxide emissions, which can be reported back to MARPOL as proof of compliance.

Cleaner emissions

While the latest generation of container ships incorporate a range of features to help improve fuel efficiency and reduce pollution, older vessels may struggle to make the transition to the very low sulphur fuels that are replacing previous fuel stocks. If using a fuel that exceeds the 0.5% sulphur limit, ships can continue to comply with the IMO regulations by using an exhaust gas cleaning system or a scrubber. A gas scrubber, wet scrubber or absorber works by allowing the exhaust gas to pass through a stream of water, also known as the ‘washing liquid’. The stream absorbs the sulphur oxide in the gas to create sulfuric acid, removing it from the exhaust gas. The concentration of particles in the liquid will change its density. ABB’s CoriolisMaster flowmeter can be used as part of the scrubber system to determine flow and density measurements.  An accurate measurement of the density of the drain liquid can be used to determine the degree of contamination or the number of salts and particles absorbed, and hence the system efficiency.

As businesses continue to forge grand covenants of sustainable practices, it is becoming increasingly important to engage a partner such as ABB with over 60 years of gas analysis expertise to support compliance with stringent emissions regulations, but additionally the instrumentation to deliver more efficient processes that both reduce environmental impact and provide a commercial reward for ethical practices.

Want to know more? Join us for our next Seven Cs webinar

For more about the benefits of Cylmate, plus ABB’s other measurement technologies for marine applications, watch our techtalk here>>

For more information on effective measurement for meeting global environmental legislative targets sign up for the final installment of our Seven Cs webinar series taking place on sign up for the next in our Seven Cs webinar series, taking place on Thursday 18th November at 2pm GMT - register here>>

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