Japanese car carrier to trial device that can collect microplastics while underway

Emerald Ace (Photo: MarineTraffic.com/Walford Watkins)

Japanese companies Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) and Miura have confirmed that development work has begun on a new centrifugal-type microplastic collection device that can continuously collect microplastics while a vessel is underway.

The device is currently installed on the MOL-operated vehicle carrier Emerald Ace and has already begun undergoing testing.

MOL said the addition of a centrifuge allows the device to efficiently separate floating microplastics from concentrated seawater with a high density of floating debris, without closed plumbing. This enables it to treat sea water line, which continually draws in seawater, and even treat the full amount of discharge water after passing through the filter with the backwashing function of the ballast water treatment system, which was limited to a part of treatment in an earlier iteration of the collection device.

The installation of the newer collection device on Emerald Ace means microplastics can be continuously collected while sailing, by connecting the system to the cooling seawater line, which always draws in seawater. MOL remarked that this gives the system an annual seawater treatment capacity about 70 times that of the previous device.

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