Moving beyond scrubber technology with pollution abatement solutions

Daphne Technology’s CEO Dr. Juan Mario Michan discusses the future of pollution abatement solutions and moving beyond scrubber technology  


With pressure mounting from all factions, including environmental and consumer, the shipping industry has had to assimilate quicker than ever in order to decarbonise and curtail its impact on air pollution. The challenge, which has recently revolved around the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 2020 global sulphur limit, could soon be made more urgent through expected tightening of the IMO’s MARPOL Annex VI which aims to limit the main air pollutants contained in ships’ exhaust gas.   


As a result, this may cause the industry to move away from fossil fuels completely or establish innovative methods to not only reduce its impact on the environment but also future proof the maritime industry’s growing fleet – an action that the sector is already witnessing with the creation of various abatement technologies. 


As we can expect to see the IMO, and possibly other regulators, strive for new, tighter rules that further limit NOx, particulate matter (PM) and black carbon, future proofing and continued research into exhaust gas abatement is vital so that an exemplary model can be established for the industry, and a solution can be implemented in response to regional laws on pollutants that are often inconsistent and fragmented. 


Traditional open loop scrubbers, which account for about 80% of all exhaust gas system installations, were designed before the current environmental regulations were set and no longer offer what is needed. Nor do they offer much in the case of future-proofing.  


Furthermore, the contention with open loop technology is only gathering pace, with the total number of countries that are restricting or prohibiting the discharge of water wash from open loop scrubbers reaching 22. The shipping industry cannot rely on these antiquated solutions that are not fit for purpose. A re-thinking of expectations is required for exhaust gas cleaning systems to respond to current as well as future emissions challenges.  


Exhaust gas cleaning systems need to be considered as solutions that can reduce multiple pollutants. It is vital to recognise the need for such solutions that tackle current air pollutant regulations and those anticipated, as well as other environmental challenges. With the growth of LNG, the shipping industry needs to explore carbon capture through the eradication of direct CH(methane) slip, something we have been developing and are preparing to test aboard vessels.  


Overcoming the shortcomings of outdated technology, by taking a technology first and regulatory agnostic approach, will enable shipowners to invest in solutions that combat current challenges and future proof against further regulatory changes.  


Read the full article in Splash 24/7 here.