An innovative air pollution-reduction device called the “seawater scrubber” will be tested for the first time on a container ship visiting Southern California in a $3.4 million project co-sponsored by the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and starting in spring 2011.
The technology uses seawater to filter pollutants from ships’ auxiliary engines and boilers. It is expected to reduce a ship’s sulfur oxide emissions by up to 99.9 percent and particulate matter by as much as 85 percent. “The seawater scrubbing technology shows tremendous long-term potential for reducing emissions at our ports and improving the environment,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D. “We’re excited about testing this innovative equipment and evaluating its promise for more widespread use.”
“Many of the ocean carriers are looking for ways to reduce their vessels’ emissions and projects like this are an ideal way to demonstrate the effectiveness of new technology to the industry,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Richard D. Steinke.
Funded in part by a $1.65 million grant from the Technology Advancement Program (TAP), a joint initiative of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the seawater scrubber filtering technology will be tested on an APL container vessel. The entire demonstration project is expected to span 36 months.
“APL has long engaged with industry, the public sector and academia in search of new ways to mitigate the environmental impacts of global trade,” said Earl Agron, Vice President of Environmental Affairs at APL. “This latest effort with the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is in the same spirit of cooperation and discovery.”
The seawater scrubber, supplied through a partnership between Bluefield Holdings Inc. and Krystallon, Ltd., features advanced emission control technology in which seawater is used to scrub, or filter, contaminants from a ship’s auxiliary engines and boiler before exiting the exhaust stack of a ship. Once solid carbon contaminants have been removed, the seawater used during the scrubbing process is then treated and cleansed before being discharged. The solid contaminants are contained and collected for later disposal.
As part of the three-year project, the scrubber technology on the APL test vessel will be evaluated over a one-year period during the ship’s calls to the San Pedro Bay ports. It’s expected to result in air emission reductions of approximately 80-85 percent in diesel particulate matter, 99.9 in sulfur oxide emissions, more than a 90 percent decrease in volatile organic compounds (VOC) and another 10 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide pollutants. Diesel particulate matter is classified in the state of California as a toxic air contaminant based upon its potential to cause health problems and cancer. Sulfur oxides, VOC and nitrogen oxides are gases that contribute to smog.
TAP was created as part of the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP), and focuses on accelerating the commercial availability of new clean air strategies to reduce air pollution. Jointly funded by the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, TAP has provided more than $5 million in project funding since the program began in 2007. Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency bestowed the 2010 Clean Air Technologies Award to the ports for TAP.