May 14, 2007

Cruise ship tests new seawater-based emission scrubbing system

Holland America Line's ms Zaandam has become the only cruise ship at sea to feature advanced new emission reduction technology recently installed during a two-week drydock at the Esquimalt, British Columbia shipyard. The cruise ship, which left Vancouver on May 9 en route up the Pacific coast to Alaska, is demonstrating the technology as part of a project being carried out by Holland America Line in co-operation with several Canadian and U.S. government and regulatory agencies.

The demonstration project is designed to test the feasibility of using seawater to scrub engine emissions on oceangoing vessels. The seawater scrubber system, developed by Krystallon, a subsidiary of BP, uses the natural chemistry of seawater to remove virtually all sulfur oxide (SOX) and to significantly reduce particulate matter emissions.

The seawater is then treated to remove harmful contaminants, while the calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in seawater neutralizes the SOX through conversion to sulfates and neutral salts.

The $1.5-million technology was developed with the help of a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)/West Coast Collaborative, as well as a $100,000 contribution from Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. Other project supporters include the Port of Vancouver, Environment Canada, the BC Ministry of Environment, the BC Clean Air Research Fund and the Port of Seattle, along with Krystallon. Representatives from the various government agencies serve on a technical advisory committee overseeing the project's development.

"This is a ship like no other in the cruise industry," said Holland America Line president and CEO Stein Kruse, "and after studies and modifications of the ship's new test emissions technology, it could dramatically change not only the cruise industry but the entire maritime industry by reducing ship engine emissions."

Krystallon is a joint venture between BP Marine, a worldwide supplier of bunker fuels and lubricants, and founding partner Kittiwake, which provides test, measurement and monitoring equipment for fuels, lubricants and water systems globally. Krystallon's mandate is to provide environmental control systems for the marine industry, such as exhaust gas cleaning systems for large marine engines. The firm and its parent companies are all based in the U.K.

Holland America Line's environmental practices are implemented through a comprehensive fleetwide program that emphasizes compliance with all international environmental guidelines, waste reduction and recycling and front-of-the-line adoption of new environmental technologies such as advanced water treatment systems, shore power while ships are in port, and an internationally-recognized whale strike avoidance program. The company's environmental management system (EMS) was certified to the ISO 14001 standard in June 2006.

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