Coastguard aircraft now also monitors nitrogen emissions from ships at sea

#Mers & Oceans, #Pollution de l'air

Publié le 15 juillet 2020

The Belgian Coast Guard continues to invest in the international fight against air pollution over sea using the so-called ‘sniffer’ sensor. This sensor makes it possible to measure sulphur compounds in the emissions from ships at sea, and to check to what extent these ships comply with the applicable sulphur standards. In order to be prepared for the restrictions that will apply on nitrogen emissions from ships in the North Sea from 2021 onwards, and to be able to monitor these too, the sniffer technology was expanded in the spring of 2020 to also detect nitrogen compounds. The results of the first test flights are promising.

The first test flights and analyses show that the Belgian coastguard aircraft can now also detect nitrogen oxides in the emissions from ships at sea © RBINS/MUMM

Since 2016, the Belgian Coast Guard has been using a so-called ‘sniffer’ sensor on board of MUMM’s aircraft (Britten-Norman Islander, registration number OO-MMM), which is used above sea to check for environmental and nautical violations. This sensor is an important instrument in the fight against air pollution, which in particular allows to deduce the sulphur content in the fuel from measurements of sulphur dioxide (SO2) in the emissions of ships at sea. This puts Belgium in the international spotlight with regard to the enforcement of the sulphur legislation. In 2020, the ‘sniffer’ sensor was extended to also enable the measurement of nitrogen compounds (so-called NOx emissions) from ships at sea.

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