Exhaust-gas scrubber hoped to cut ships’ sulphur emissions

Maersk Line is to test a new exhaust-gas cleaning system as part of its drive to cut sulphur emissions from its fleet.

The shipping company will test an advanced scrubbing system developed by BELCO and designed for installation on Maersk Line and Maersk Tankers vessels.

Maersk is investing $600,000 (£383,000) in the installation and operation of the scrubber, which can reportedly cut SOx emissions by more than 97 per cent.

The system will be operational on container ship Maersk Taurus — whose Doosan Sulzer 12RT-Flex96C main engine is said to deliver 68,640KW — in 2012 and can be in use throughout voyages if conditions are appropriate.

‘Global sulphur legislation will kick in over the next few years so the more understanding we have on these systems, the better prepared we are to make smarter investment decisions sooner when weighing our options against low-sulphur fuels,’ said Maurice Meehan, Maersk Tankers’ sustainability manager. 

According to Maersk, the scrubber will cut SOx emissions but the application also consumes energy. 

‘A system of this magnitude consumes energy and therefore increases CO2. We need to find the right balance between SOx cuts, CO2 increases and cost,’ said Bo Cerup-Simonsen, head of Maersk Maritime Technology.

Maersk Line expects the technology to complement the company’s operational measures, such as fuel-switch implementations.