August 28, 2006

Cruise line company to test emission reduction technology for oceangoing vessels

Holland America Line is preparing to use one of its cruise ships as the site of a feasibility study to test new technology designed to dramatically reduce air emissions on seagoing vessels. The company plans to install advanced seawater scrubbing technology on the ms Zaandam, at a cost of more than $1.2 million. The project is intended to demonstrate the effectiveness of advanced seawater scrubbing in significantly reducing air emissions on large oceangoing vessels. The results will determine whether this technology could be rolled out to new vessels, as well as its suitability for retrofitting existing vessels.

The project is a collaborative effort, with $300,000 in funding being provided through a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the West Coast Collaborative. Another $100,000 is being contributed by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. Other partners include Environment Canada, the port of Seattle and the port of Vancouver. Caterpillar will also support the project by conducting comprehensive research on the impact of scrubber technology on engine performance, reliability and service life.

The current plan is to install the scrubber on the ms Zaandam in the spring of 2007. Following installation, the effectiveness of the scrubber will be analyzed and a final report submitted by June 2008.

"A scrubber has never previously been installed on a vessel engine of this size," said Holland America president and CEO Stein Kruse. "We are extremely proud to be in the forefront of this technology and feel it is important to collaborate with key partners to find practical solutions," he added.

"This technology has the potential to significantly -- and economically -- reduce emissions from seagoing vessels, benefiting our coasts, and port communities," noted Dennis McLerran, executive director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.

The technology is expected to partially reduce nitrogen oxides (NOX, by 10%), virtually eliminate sulfur dioxide (SO2, by over 98%) and significantly reduce particulate matter (PM, between 50 and 80%). Heavy fuel oil is pretreated to reduce the NOx and PM formed during combustion. The engine emission enters the scrubber, where the reaction between the SO2 in the emission and the calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in seawater forms calcium sulfate (CaSO4) in the wastewater and reduces the SO2 in the smoke to almost zero. Solids in the wastewater are then processed in hydro-cyclones and offloaded ashore for proper disposal.

The West Coast Collaborative is a partnership involving leaders from federal, state/provincial and local governments, the private sector and environmental groups committed to reducing diesel emissions along the West Coast. Partners come from all over western North America, including California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. The Collaborative's activities focus on creating, supporting and implementing diesel emission reduction projects.

More information is available on the West Coast Collaborative Web site, www.westcoastdiesel.org/, or the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency Web site, www.pscleanair.org/.

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