Sustainable SOx management  for Maritime Industry

Sustainable SOx management for Maritime Industry

Shipping is the lifeblood of the world economy – over 90 per cent of world trade is carried across the world’s oceans by over 90,000 vessels. The bulk transport of raw materials, and the import/export of manufactured goods and affordable food, are highly dependent on the maritime industry and have a huge impact on the global economy.

But like all modes of transportation that use fossil fuels, ships produce carbon dioxide emissions that significantly contribute to global climate change and acidification. Besides carbon dioxide, ships also release other pollutants such as Sulphur Oxides (SOx) that contribute to the climate problem. 

Since the International Maritime Organisation regulation’s enforcement date on January 1, 2020, ship owners have been obliged to reduce SOx emissions. Finding the balance between economically reasonable and environmentally friendly solutions for the maritime industry was a goal Sander Castel was focusing on for many years. Starting his career as a mechanical engineer with the Dutch Navy, and sailed for 10 years gaining extensive experience about ship operations and mechanics. After leaving the Navy, he held several marine engineering functions for companies including Caterpillar, Wartsila, Gusto MSC, and ABB. He then developed an Oil & Gas service company in the USA before returning to the family business where he was the COO/CEO of the powder handling company – CargoFlexX. In 2016 he started working on a project to convert bulk vessels to pneumatic cement powder carriers, and in 2018 he first began developing a system to inject baking soda into the exhaust of marine vessels.  Over the years, he has garnered broad experience within the sector including managing a maritime engineering business. Together with a group of brilliant maritime engineers and specialists in powder handling in the Marine and Offshore market, Sander developed the concept to treat exhaust gas emissions from ships with sodium bicarbonate powder, also known as baking soda. The concept was adapted from proven land-based technology, where sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) powder is injected directly into the exhaust gas stream to neutralise sulphur compounds (SOx). A chemical reaction occurs converting SOx to a highly stable and non-toxic salt – Sodium Sulphate (Na2SO4). This salt is released safely into the atmosphere (STANDARD) or can be captured by SodaFlexx’s bespoke cyclone Particulate Capture System (HYBRID) and recycled ashore.

After three years of trials, the latest SodaFlexx dry exhaust gas cleaning system was presented and installed on the 96,772 dwt “Yeoman Bridge”, owned by the one of industry’s leading companies – BONTRUP.  The application is currently in the process of obtaining a US patent, and SodaFlexx was recently contracted for another installation of their EGCS on another BONTRUP vessel “Bontrup Amsterdam”.

The IMO has set even more ambitious CO2 emission reduction targets for 2030 and 2050, therefore sustainability in shipping has become a major priority not only for the shipping business but for the global economy.