Mittwoch, 03.06.2020 02:03 Uhr

Inland navigation: Corona delays toxic output tests

Verantwortlicher Autor: Jochen Raffelberg Brussels, 21.05.2020, 17:10 Uhr
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Brussels [ENA] The international multi-million € Clean Inland Shipping (Clinsh) project, in which emission reducing technologies and alternative fuels are tested on river vessels, will be delayed by one year because of complications with the installation of the 42 selected ships’ environmental test kits and proper fuel gauge. Due to the Corona crisis they were also not accessible for testing or for repairs to test equipment.

Mr Frank Appelman, the program manager, said due to the delay the final conference offering analyses of measurement results had now been scheduled for September 2021. There were fewer sailings and some skippers were at a complete standstill. “For the time being, we assume that this can be overcome with a limited extension of the measurement period and in this way sufficient representative data can be collected to base the analyses on”, Mr Appelman said. The main objective of the project is to reduce toxic output in favor of better air quality in urban areas. To achieve this the project assesses the effectiveness of emissions control technology, alternative fuels and shore-side power systems.

17 project partners have committed to investments totaling over €8.5m, with co-financing provided by the European Union’s LIFE program. The various project activities are designed to increase the long-term sustainability of the inland shipping sector. Some of the vessels chosen were fitted with a specific type of emissions-control technology or modified to run on an alternative fuel. Others consist of vessels with some emissions-control technology. Participants were selected in three tenders that proposed reimbursements for skippers of between €10,000 and €500,000 for applying innovative engine technologies and fuels like selective catalytic reduction (SCR), diesel particle filter (DPF), gas-to-liquids (GTL) and liquefied natural gas (LNG).

In addition, Clinsh seeks to highlight the benefits of shore power for local governments. Until now the energy needed for heating, lighting and other activities on board has mostly come from generators. A switch to shore power will help reduce ships’ emissions and improve the air quality around ports, organizers argue. The European consortium promoting clean waterway transport consists of Dutch, Belgian, German and English public and private organizations including universities, port authorities, local governments and private companies.

One of the project participants, Mr Otto Klinkenberg, skipper of M/S Vantage, says he had always set great store by greening, and had seen many changes in the past 40 years. Switching from low-sulphur diesel to GTL (Gas to Liquid), a liquid fuel based on natural gas, GTL burns cleaner than conventional diesel, with fewer local emissions and less visible black smoke, according to Mr Klinkenberg. He has chosen to participate in Clinsh to demonstrate that using GTL is a cleaner option. “This data will help to convince more inland skippers,” he said. GTL was more expensive than conventional diesel, which for many inland skippers meant a question of costs versus benefits.

“Everyone wants to introduce greener processes to their work, but no one wants to pay for them. If more skippers used GTL, it would become cheaper automatically. If we can then demonstrate without any doubt that using GTL is actually cleaner, we’d be able to convince more people.” Mr Klinkenberg continues to operate an older CCR1 engine, while CCR2 engines are now the standard. Starting next year, all engines will be expected to comply with stage five standards. “A stage five certificate cannot be obtained with older engines, even if the engine’s emissions do satisfy the standard.” For Mr Klinkenberg, however, the transition to GTL means that he does not need to invest in a new engine.

Clinsh stated that the benefits of the environmental pilot program supported by the EU did not only include financial compensation but resulting good environmental performance could help skippers to acquire cargo contracts or gain access to ports. “And finally, skippers can receive compensation for converting their vessels today, rather than waiting until these changes become mandatory in the future,” Clinsh said. Clinsh was endorsed across the inland shipping industry in 2018 when more than 200 participants in the Nijmegen Ports and the City conference agreed on a Green Deal including Clinsh.

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