A metal sponge to reduce ship exhaust emissions

Signal of change / A metal sponge to reduce ship exhaust emissions

By Michael Zahn / 03 Nov 2015

Researchers of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim are testing a technique to reduce pollutants from ship exhaust emissions in a pilot project funded by the Research Council of Norway’s Innovation Programme MAROFF (Maritime activities and offshore operations). The team applies a hybrid solution called Lynx Separator which originally was developed for the oil and gas industry. As wet gas runs through the separator, a tabular metal ‘sponge’ spins quickly and removes droplets from gas streams using centrifugal forces. The sponge separates the liquid from the gas and moves it aside and downward, enabling dry gas to stream up.

The method was designed by InnSep AS, a spinout from the Department of Energy and Process Engineering at NTNU, incorporated to engineer a scalable and flexible gas/liquid separator. As yet, separators used in the oil and gas industry are costly and bulky. Previous full-scale laboratory testing performed in Colorado, USA, on a converted missile launch base from the Cold War has been very promising. Sondre K. Jacobsen, CEO of InnSep AS, says: “The results there were so good that we managed to convince Statoil, and so now we’re part of DEMO2000, which is a qualification program for new solutions in oil and gas technology”.

Image Credit: MaxGag / flickr

So what?

The shipping industry is facing considerably stricter regulation on emissions (EU Regulation 2015/757), which will apply to all ports by 2020. Already approximately 60% of ports around the world refuse access to vessels which do not comply with the requirements. Shipping companies may have to adapt their fleet in order to reduce exhaust emissions, raising demand for effective solutions.

According to Jacobsen, theoretical testing and calculations have revealed auspicious findings. Next InnSep will present the project results to industry players to detect how the technology can be implemented quickly and cost-effectively.

Sources

Gemini (2015, August 31) Cleaning ship emissions with metal sponge cells

European Commission (2015) Reducing emissions from the shipping sector

InnSep (2014) About

The Maritime Executive (2015, September 3) Cleaning Ship Emissions with Metal Sponges

What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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