Green Instruments and the Danish Technological Intitute have developed a real-time flue gas sensor technology to accurately measure black carbon emissions from ships. The technology could become instrumental in meeting the increasing regulatory demands for black carbon emission standards.

The sensors’ real-time monitoring capability offers critical insights into emissions from varying fuel types, representing a significant step forward in mitigating the adverse impacts of maritime black carbon emissions on the Arctic environment.

The shipping industry faces an immediate challenge of reducing black carbon emissions, a significant component of fine particulate matter from ship engine exhaust. These emissions contribute considerably to global warming, especially in the Arctic, and pose severe health risks. The World Health Organization has classified soot particles, inclusive of black carbon, as carcinogenic, thereby stressing the urgency for effective monitoring and reduction methods.

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Real-life measurements validate EMS method

Comprehensive measurement campaigns in both laboratory and maritime settings were undertaken to test the new sensor technology. The Extinction-Minus-Scattering (EMS) measurement method emerged as a credible, more efficient alternative to traditional measurement methods.

Noteworthy benefits of the EMS method include real-time in-situ measurement capabilities, traceability, and lowered ownership costs, tackling significant hurdles of existing emission monitoring techniques.

‘Our innovative EMS method, validated through rigorous field testing, is not merely a viable solution, but a transformative one in monitoring black carbon emissions,’ says Peter Mariager, CTO of Green Instruments. ‘It signifies a considerable leap in environmental stewardship, providing the shipping industry with a real-time, accurate, and cost-effective tool for sustainable operations.’

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Vision for future sensor technology development

Moving ahead, Green Instruments and the Danish Technological Institute are exploring further enhancements to extend the sensor technology’s capabilities beyond black carbon, with an aim to document general particulate matter (PM) emissions.

This will take place within a new project, “Robust maritime sensor for continuous measurement of particle emissions”. This development highlights the strong market need for documenting the impact of flue gas cleaning technology and new fuels on PM emissions.

‘Our objective is to establish the world’s first in-situ solution for the real-time measurement of both black carbon and PM emissions in ship exhaust,’ says Morten Køcks from the Danish Technological Institute. ‘This joint development will facilitate more comprehensive emission reporting and offer more in-depth insights into the nature of particulate emissions, as well as the effectiveness of reduction measures across various fuel types.’

MUDP grant

The “Black carbon sensor for continuous measurement on ships” project is supported by the Danish Ministry of Environment’s MUDP grant. It is a cooperative effort between Green Instruments, DFDS, MOL Chemical Tankers, Danske Rederier, Danske Maritime, and Danish Technological Institute.

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