US ports to test emission scrubbing tech

An air pollution-reduction device called the "seawater scrubber" will be tested for the first time on a container ship visiting Southern California in a US$3.4 million project co-sponsored by the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and starting in the second quarter of 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. "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 US$1.65 million grant from the Technology Advancement Programme (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 starting in 2011.

The entire demonstration project is expected to span 36 months.

The seawater scrubber, supplied through a partnership between Bluefield Holdings and Krystallon, features 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.

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