The Danish Environmental and Protection Agency (EPA) has contracted Danish startup Explicit to monitor sulphur compliance from ships. The monitoring will be conducted from the air, by sampling exhaust plumes from vessels in waters around Denmark, in order to detect and deter violations of the 0.10% ECA restriction on sulphur in the bunker fuel.
As informed, the operation will deploy a new sniffer technology developed by Explicit for easy-mount on helicopters – and eventually also drones. The airborne surveillance of the sulphur restrictions in Danish waters is expected to commence from July 2017.
The new Mini Sniffer System is capable of measuring both sulphur and NOX emissions from vessels to determine their compliance, and is small enough to be carried on a drone without compromising quality or reliability. Initial however, the technology will be deployed on a manned helicopter, but with the prospect of phasing in drones as a supplement in the future.
” Our demonstrations have shown that the ability to navigate in the plume is absolutely critical to getting good airborne measurement results. You can achieve the same with rotary drones, but the manned helicopter currently has a much larger operational capacity,” says Jon Knudsen.
As plume navigation is critical, the company has developed a patented method known as smart flight and special software tools for overcoming this challenge. The company uses only rotary platforms (helicopters and drones) because of their ability to maneuver in the plume:
“Combined with our smart flight software we can guide the pilot on the real-time sensor feedback to optimize the position for sampling. This is important because plumes aren’t clearly visible. Not even on infrared or in case of high emitting ships, so you need navigational support” explains Jon Knudsen.
Further, the company has developed a set of advanced algorithms, in order to calculate the sulphur content and NOX emissions to reliably determine compliance.