Globalization has intensified trade between
the East and West, and today some 90 percent
of the resulting cargo is transported by sea.
While sea freight is cost-efficient and compares
favourably with other means of transport in
terms of overall gas emissions, some specific
air pollutants are a cause of concern. Thus the
industry is investing heavily to improve its environmental
Two key groups of pollutants that are being
targeted by the shipping industry are sulphur
oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), which
harm both human health and the environment.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO)
has vowed to cut emissions of these compounds
– in the case of NOx by 80 percent – in certain
geographic areas, known as emission control
Collaborating to reduce emissions
With its high-speed separator technology,
Alfa Laval is collaborating with other leading
engineering companies to find the solutions
needed to make such reductions possible. Staffan
Konigsson, process analysis and design
expert at Alfa Laval, says he is confident these
measures will help change the way the shipping
industry works. "Using high-speed separators
we are breaking new ground, as other solutions
simply don`t work with such small particles," he
says. "It is a very challenging project to minimize
waste volume on this scale."
NOx are formed during the combustion
process as a result of the combination of nitrogen
and oxygen from the air at high temperatures.
NOx affects the human lung function and
can form acid rain.
In a project to reduce these emissions from
ships` engines, Alfa Laval was selected to collaborate
with the Danish arm of German giant
MAN. The engine builder is currently developing
and testing technology in the exhaust gas
recirculation (EGR) system for large two-stroke
diesel engines that can reduce NOx emissions
by 80 percent.
As part of this system, a scrubber removes
sulphur and particles from the exhaust gas using
jets of water. Alfa Laval`s separator solution
aims to then purify this water so that it does not
interfere with the EGR process, and at the same
time it achieves the IMO directive on the purity
of water discharged into the sea.
“MAN has found Alfa Laval separators very
promising,” says Johan Kaltoft, MAN diesel and
turbo project manager. “Once the NOx-reducing
technology is completed we expect to fully meet
the IMO criteria for the discharge of scrubber
wash water, while keeping the EGR scrubber
system in a clean and stable running condition.”
Lena Sundquist, Alfa Laval`s market
unit manager for Marine & Diesel, explains:
“Because of the results from the land-based
research, we were invited to be part of the ongoing
tests on board the container ship from AP
Moller-Maersk, which will take place over one
to two years.”
SOx forms during the combustion process
when sulphur in the fuel combines with
oxygen, and contributes to acid rain. Alfa Laval
has teamed up with scrubber producer Aalborg
Industries, a specialist in SOx-capturing technology,
to reduce these emissions. Aalborg`s scrubber,
the largest marine unit installed today, was
installed on a North Sea RO-RO Vessel in 2009,
and in May 2010 it was tested on seawater for
the first time. Alfa Laval high-speed separators
clean the dirty water coming from the scrubber.
Lars Munch Antonsen, general manager,
Group Global Marketing & Customer Relations
Management at Aalborg Industries A/S, says he
is pleased with the progress Alfa Laval is making.
“Alfa Laval is a well-known player in the
maritime industry,” he says. “It was chosen
because of its proven skills in designing equipment
for the merchant fleet and its expertise in
the separation of fluids and particles.”
At Alfa Laval, Sundquist says that the separator
solution has proved so successful that she is
confident that the results of the project will fully
comply with IMO targets on discharge water from
the treatment of both NOx and SOx emissions.
Rudeboksvägen 1 SE-226 55 Lund Sweden
Phone: +46 46 36 65 00
Lena Sundquist, Alfa Laval’s market unit manager for Marine & Diesel
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