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Port of LA begins seawater scrubber testing

3 Oct. 2011

Testing will be conducted on the Horizon Hawk

The Port of Los Angeles along with students from the California State University of Long Beach (CSULB)Horizon Shipping Lines and Rolls Royce Marine, have begun testing a new seawater scrubber system for shipping vessels.

According to reports, the seawater scrubber system will be monitored over the next three years and aims to reduce emissions of shipping vessels by as much as 85% by 2013.

Seawater scrubbers are pollution control devices that use liquid to wash unwanted pollutants from a vessels exhaust stream.

“The main goal for our project is to improve our local air quality,” said Hamid Rahai, professor at CSULB and co-principal investigator overseeing the project.

“The driving force behind this project is that we provide technology that meets the California Air Resources Board requirements. That way we can actually reduce the pollution in the area and at the same time develop a technology.”

California regulations require that ships within 24 nautical miles of land must use low sulphur fuels which are cleaner and more refined than tradition marine fuels.

The Port of LA is testing a variety of technologies to determine which is best suited to reach their goal of reducing air pollution. This will be the second type of technology that the port is testing.

According to reports, the scrubber system has the potential to save millions of dollars in fuel by allowing ships to use lower grade fuel at all times, while still meeting emission requirements.

“One of the major things we’re going to do is sample the discharge water to make sure it meets International Maritime Organization (IMO) requirements,” said Rahai.

“Actually, there’s not that much baseline data available, so this will be a significant step to provide the baseline data in terms of what kind of discharge water we have and how it’s going to impact the ecosystem.”

Rahai added that the next step in the project will be to determine how successful the scrubber system is and what kind of policies will be implemented to require shippers to adapt the technology.

The team has sailed on a 12-hour trip on board the Horizon Hawk and will travel from Los Angeles to Oakland.

Testing will also be carried out on sailings trips to Guam and Shanghai.

Samantha Cacnio, Vancouver News Desk, 3rd October 2011 21:31 GMT

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