CLIA publishes findings of scrubber technology studies

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Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is sharing the results of three recent studies which the association says confirms the limited Impact of Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS) ‘scrubber’ technology on marine environments.

EGCS process emissions from ships to almost completely remove sulphur content and significantly reduce particulate matter found in exhaust.

The three independent analyses released in 2019 found a minimal impact from EGCS, when operated in open-loop mode, including on water and sediment quality and marine life.

“EGCS systems are designed to effectively remove 98% of sulphur and well over 50% of particulate matter,” says Brian Salerno, senior vice president of maritime policy, CLIA. “These studies are important validators for the industry that these systems, whether operated in open or closed-loop modes, are safe for the environment, in compliance with the new restrictions set forth in IMO 2020 and in keeping with the industry’s commitment to responsible tourism practices.”

The most recent report, conducted by CE Delft and co-sponsored by CLIA, analysed the long-term impact of washwater discharges from EGCS on port water and sediment. Using empirical data from almost 300 EGCS washwater samples it was found that such discharges have a minimal environmental impact on water and sediment quality as compared to new European environmental quality standards entering into force in 2021.

The CE Delft report and its findings follow two additional studies released in 2019 which were conducted to further understand the impact of EGCS on marine environments. This includes a two-year study conducted by DNV GL, which found washwater samples from 53 cruise ships equipped with EGCS to be below the limits set by major international water quality standards. Another recent study, conducted by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, found the impact of scrubbers on water quality and marine life to be negligible.

Taken together, the association asserts that these studies further support the use of EGCS technology as a viable means for compliance with the IMO’s 2020 sulphur requirements, which went into effect 1 January 2020 and mandate that emissions from maritime vessels do not exceed 0.5% sulphur content, compared to 3.5% previously.

Additional means of compliance with IMO’s 2020 regulations include the use of LNG fuel, which has virtually zero sulphur emissions, and use of compliant fuel such as Marine Gas Oil. The CLIA ocean-going cruise fleet includes two ships that are currently using LNG for primary propulsion, with another 25 under construction or on order.

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Marisa has been writing about transport design and the passenger experience since 2013 and is also a contributor to sister titles Aircraft Interiors International and Business Jet Interiors International. She has travelled the world extensively by car, plane, train and cruise liner.

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