IACCSEA – to facilitate the transition to low emission shipping

London. The International Association for Catalytic Control of Ship Emissions to Air, IACCSEA, has been formed with a primary focus of demonstrating the technological and economic viability of Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology capable of reducing NOx emissions from marine engines.

NOx is a toxic, acidic gas, produced in the heat of the engine, which can be transported over many hundreds of miles and deposited as acid rain. It is described as a local pollutant, a precursor of photochemical ozone formation, playing a major role in the atmospheric reactions that produce smog. NOx reacts with ammonia, moisture, and other compounds in the atmosphere, to form nitric acid, toxic organic nitrates and other particulate material. This particulate matter can penetrate into sensitive parts of the lungs and cause or worsen respiratory diseases such as emphysema and bronchitis. It can also aggravate existing heart conditions and lead to premature death.

SCR technology uses a simple chemical reaction to neutralise the NOx in the exhaust. The catalyst promotes the reaction between NOx and a reducing agent such as ammonia at the relatively low temperatures of an exhaust stream. This process produces harmless nitrogen and water. Highly efficient, SCR is capable of removing up to 99% of the NOx. The technology has found widespread application in reducing NOx from power plants and it is also the industry standard from removing NOx emissions from truck engines. SCR has also been used for marine applications since the 1990’s and is now an established technology.

SCR is installed on more than 500 vessels. Despite this Marine applications remain a niche market for SCR technology. All is set to change with the IMO’s Tier III requirement that force new build vessels from 2016 to emit substantially reduced NOx when operating in Emission Control Areas. SCR is a proven and commercially available technology capable of meeting the IMO Tier III NOx requirements and is expected to become a standard in shipping, just as catalytic converters are on cars.

The objective of the Association is chiefly scientific, namely the demonstration of the technological and economic viability of using catalytic emission control technologies on ships. Primarily the body will use its voice to inform regulators and the shipping community that proposed regulations, such as IMO Tier III, can be met through commercially available catalytic after treatment technology. IACCSEA will work closely other stakeholders in the continued development and implementation of strategies that lead to cleaner shipping.

The Associations’ membership spans Asia, the US and Europe and members include Ceram DEC Marine, Haldor Topsoe, H+H, Universal, Johnson Matthey, PanAsia Proventia, Sakai Chemical and Yarwil. IACCSEA will gather and disseminate objective and factual technical information on marine catalytic emission control technologies (including costs and benefits) and promote awareness of SCR, including latest developments.

Dr Joseph McCarney, the Association’s Chairman, explained: “Meeting IMO’s Tier III NOx limits, will be a technological challenge for the Marine Industry and exhaust gas after-treatment technology will play an important role. The regulators had the capabilities of SCR technology in mind when the NOx limits were set and to date SCR remains the only proven technology capable of meeting, even surpassing the strictest of regulatory requirements. The SCR system works with the engine and is engineered to respond to different engine conditions. It can even help deliver improvements in efficiency e.g. when the engine is tuned to maximum fuel efficiency (lower CO2 emissions) and the higher NOx emissions neutralised via the SCR”. The formation of the association recognises the need for credible technical information, “Confusion amongst the key stakeholders has led to an unsettling uncertainty in the market place. IACCSEA has been set up to act as a beacon to the shipping community and become an authoritative voice on NOx emissions from Shipping”.

Former UK Secretary of State for the Environment, Lord Deben – IACCSEA’s honorary President – commented: “NOx is a dangerous pollutant, particularly for children, asthma sufferers and the elderly. For many areas it is predicted that by 2020 more NOx will come from the shipping fleet than land-based sources. We need to continue to address the issues surrounding local pollutants whilst we deal with climate change – they are two sides of the same coin. I am particularly happy that IACCSEA has been formed. It represents an industry that can remove almost all the NOx from a ship engine and will make a very valuable contribution to the debate on how to achieve clean shipping”.

IACCSEA, 46 Queen Anne’s Gate, SW1H 9AP, London, UK