The shipping industry, like the airline industry, is responsible for a large chunk of greenhouse gas emissions, but it has been hard to regulate because standards would have to be approved and enforced globally. It hasn't faced much pressure to clean up until the UN and European Union recently began calling for lowered emissions. Luckily, a Singapore firm thinks it has a solution to the problem.
Ecospec has developed a method to remove carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides and soot from ship exhausts with a widely available resource for ships - seawater. The process, called CSNOX, uses electrolysis and ultra-low frequency waves to raise the alkalinity of sea water to a pH of 10 up from 8.1. Seawater is pumped into a tank, the alkalinity is raised and then the seawater is sprayed into the exhaust funnel of the ship. The dirty water is then collected, filtered and processed before being returned to the ocean.
The higher alkaline water is actually to the ocean's benefit since the acidity of the world's oceans has been rising as CO2 in the atmosphere rises. The water also contains sulphates, nitrates and carbonates that could benefit sea life.
The main objective of Ecospec was to create a process that wouldn't involve chemicals or create secondary environmental issues. One existing method of removing SO2 from ship exhaust has actually been proven to create CO2 as a by-product, which just further contributes to global warming instead of helping. The high-alkalinity of the CSNOX system prevented this effect by neutralizing the SO2.
Ecospec says that the method has already been tested on a tanker and shown to remove 90 percent of SO2, 80 percent of NOx and 75 percent of CO2 from the exhaust. The results earned them the support of the American Bureau of Shipping.
If the process makes it past the testing phase, it would cost about $500,000 to $1 million to fit most ships with the system. A small price to pay for removing the cause of 4 percent of global fossil fuel emissions.
written by solargroupies, March 19, 2009
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