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 Barry Bednar, CEO at SodaFlexx, was focusing on for many years. Starting his career in the maritime business 1985, Barry has had numerous roles within the shipping industry since then. Over the years, he has garnered broad experience within the sector including managing a maritime engineering business and co-owning/managing pneumatic cement carriers. Together with a brilliant engineer and a specialist in powder handling in the Marine and Offshore market, Sander Castel, they 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.  As we move closer to the implementation dates, SodaFlexx is trialling technology adapting their proven powder delivery systems to treat and handle CO2 from marine engines.  Scale tests have shown promising results, and a shipboard installation is planned for Q1 2023.