By 1 January 2020 all ships must use fuel oil complying with the global sulphur cap.

15 November 2016

Around 80 %. That is the expected reduction in sulphur emissions resulting from the reduced global sulphur cap in fuel oil from 3.5 % to 0.50 % by 1 January 2020, as recently introduced by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Low emission zones have already been introduced through the so-called Emisison Control Areas (ECAs), within which all ships are allowed to use only low-sulphur fuel with a suplphur content below 0.1 %. The Baltic and North Seas as well as the coastal waters around the US and Canada are designated ECAs under the international MARPOL Annex VI convention for the prevention of pollution from ships.

A new agenda for engine producers, ship owners and governments

The regulations decided by the IMO have an effect on engine producers, ship owners and governments. New ship engines must reduce the emissions of sulphur and particles. 

The ship owner must either switch to low-sulphur fuel oil or install a scrubber that “washes” the exhaust from high-sulphur fuel oil, thus reducing the emission of sulphur and particles. If a scrubber is installed, a control system monitoring the scrubber’s efficiency is necessary. 

In order to make sure ships and ship owners are complying with the regulations, authorities must be able to control a vessels emission. The control is normally performed when the ships are docked in harbor. However, new cost effective methods of monitoring air pollution from ships exist.

How can we help you comply with the new regulations?

If you are a ship engine producer, we can perform accredited air emission measurements, giving you solid proof that your engines are in compliance with IMO regulations and demands from your customers. The information from the accredited measurements will help you achieve type approval. 

If you are a ship owner, we offer independent consulting and control of installed scrubber control systems. Our control report will establish if the scrubber is complying with IMO regulation.

Emission measurements with drones and helicopters

Through a recent project with the Danish company Explicit, we have supported the development of a cost-effective monitoring system. Our job was to develop the sensor capable of analyzing the sulfur and NOx coming from the ship funnel. 

The sensor system - also called a sniffer - is attached to a drone or helicopter, which is flown close to the ship and positioned in the exhaust plume. The technology enables compliance monitoring of ship emissions. Read more about the monitoring system on the Explicit homepage.