Electrostatic Precipitator – A Revolutionary Solution For Pollution in The Maritime Industry

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Electrostatic Precipitator

Pollution is a crucial challenge for the maritime industry as it impacts not only marine diversity and life at a very significant level, but also affects the air quality in the areas surrounding seas and rivers. Various reports published in the last few years have shown the striking impact of commercial marine activities- its contribution to pollution in the oceans and to rising levels of global warming. The year 2020 is seen by many as a peak time to begin taking steps to tackle pollution generating from marine vessels. The International Maritime law enforcing the control of sulphur emissions from vessels is already in place, and the organizations operating in this sphere are looking for innovative and efficient solutions to tackle emissions. The IMO 2020 aims towards limiting the sulphur content in marine fuels to 0.5% significantly decreasing the impact on environmental pollution caused by marine vessels. The electrostatic precipitator is an innovative scientific technology that helps in the removal of carbon particles from exhaust gases.

Corona Discharge: ESPs (Electrostatic Precipitator) Enabling Cleaner Emissions from Vessels

An electrostatic precipitator is a type of filter that uses static electricity to remove soot and ash from exhaust fumes before they exit the smokestacks. The exhaust gas consists of tiny particles of soot that are suspended in hot, rising air. These unburned particles of carbon are pulled out of the smoke by using static electricity in the precipitators, leaving clean, hot air to escape the smokestacks.

A negative voltage of several thousand volts is applied between two electrodes located at different positions in the inner section of the exhaust stack. If the applied voltage is high enough, an electric corona discharge ionizes the air around the electrodes, which then ionizes the particles in the air stream. The ionized particles, due to the electrostatic force, are diverted towards the grounded plates. Particles built upon the collection plates and are removed from the air stream.

IMO Compliant Technology for Eliminating PM Emissions

IMO (International Maritime Organisation) has also suggested the use of Electrostatic Precipitators to eliminate particulate matter from exhaust gases. It can remove particles of 1 micron or less depending upon conditions.

ESPs are also listed in the top 10 abatement technologies suggested by IMO to tackle the vessel emissions.

Optimum Technology Support Mechanism for Sustainable Marine Ecosystem

Electrostatic precipitators are equipped with modern technology and mechanisms to monitor and control the systems on-voyage. These mechanisms not only ensure the optimum delivery to eliminate the carbon from emissions but also control the discharge systems to make sure that particles are not discharged in the sea.

Here are some of the features of electronic precipitators that enable them to operate efficiently through the use of technology support mechanisms.

1) High Collection Efficiency:

ESPs are quite efficient in tackling particulates matter as the industrial statistics show close to 100% removal of Particulate Matter. For a study on engines running on HFO, collection efficiencies ranged from 60% to 80% for black carbon (BC) and PM between 40 nm and 700 nm.

2) Low-Pressure Drop:

An ESP does not create any exhaust gas flow backpressure.

3) Efficient Automatic Cleaning:

The electrode collection plates are automatically cleaned to ensure the working efficiency of ESP. It also has a dedicated outlet and collection system to provide that the collected particulate matter doesn’t get discharged with treated air.

4) Low Power Consumption:

An ESP applies energy only to the particulate matter being collected, not to the flowing medium, and therefore is very efficient with minimal consumption of energy (in the range of 5 kW per MW of engine power- that’s around the same consumption as five hairdryers!)

Scope of Electrostatic Precipitator as an abatement technology with Scrubber Systems

SOx Scrubbers for marine vessels limit the sulphur content in exhaust gases while electrostatic precipitators can be used to eliminate the particulate matter and black carbon. ESPs are quite an effective way to treat particulate matters efficiently without putting much burden on the on-voyage operations.

However, traditional ESPs are bulky and so far, there has been limited deployment for marine applications. In combination with the scrubber system, the ESP can be built as a more compact unit and the exhaust scrubber, acting as a dust pre-filter, will further contribute to achieving very low PM and BC emissions in a feasible way, without excessive additional cost to ship owners and operators. More research needs to be done to further improve and fully utilize this innovative piece of technology.

If you would like more information about our scrubber technology or would like to request a quotation, please contact us at info@kameliacleantech.com


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