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CORDIS - EU research results



Reporting period: 2022-05-01 to 2023-01-31

Shipping represents the largest global cargo transport means, serving more than 80% of total freight transport. While vessels exhibit comparatively low fuel consumption per unit of cargo-distance, they produce high emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur oxides (SOx) and particulate matter (PM), which induce severe environmental, health, economic and climatic impacts. Most of these emissions occur rather close to the shore and, thus, significantly degrade air quality (AQ) in coastal areas. NOx, SOx and PM exposures from shipping have been associated with an increase in morbidity and premature mortality rates. To address the many and largely unexplored problems related to vessels emissions monitoring, SCIPPER has deployed state-of-the-art and next-generation measurement techniques to monitor emissions of vessels during their regular service. Different measurement techniques have been deployed in five real-world campaigns over main shipping areas in the EU.
The overall objectives of SCIPPER were:
• to provide evidence on the performance and capacity of different techniques for shipping emissions monitoring;
• to assess the impact of shipping emissions on AQ, under different regulatory enforcement scenarios.
SCIPPER main conclusions include:
• emission measurement systems that incorporate mature technology, already applied in other fields (automotive, air quality), can be used to effectively check if ships operate under the established limits;
• on-board systems gather several operational advantages in revealing the actual emission profile of ships both to the authorities and ship owners, but standard remote systems also appear particularly attractive for authorities as an independent system under a regulatory perspective;
• remote systems mounted in aerial means or in patrol vessels can supplement the standard fixed-station ones, expanding the monitoring capacity of authorities outside of port areas;
• optical systems (fixed station and satellites) present an alternative to the sniffer-based remote monitoring; however, technology maturity parameters and operational aspects reduce their applicability today;
• cost per ship for on-board monitoring is higher than the respective one of any of the remote systems, however on-board sensors in all vessels mean that all vessels can actually be monitored;
• NOx emissions from vessels remotely collected from different measurement locations in the Baltic and North Sea within 2022 shows that 50% of the emission measurements of ships that had to comply with the latest Tier III NOx levels, far exceed the expected emission levels;
• a wide application of ammonia as a shipping fuel in the future will cause significant particle formation unless emissions will be regulated.
The work performed in SCIPPER includes:
• Realization of 5 measurement campaigns, i.e. C1 in Marseille (FR) before the introduction of global fuel sulfur cap (FSC) in 9.2019 and C4 in 7.2021 C3 in Wedel (DE) in 9-10.2020 C2 on-board campaign from Gothenburg (SE) to Kiel (DE) in 8-9.2021 C5 in English Channel in 05.2022.
• Identification of sulfur levels in Mediterranean before and after the introduction of the global FSC.
• Review and assessment of available remote systems for ship emission measurements.
• Review and assessment of the state of art in ship plume modelling, including pollutants transformation during plume dispersion, identify advantages and disadvantages of Lagrangian and Eulerian approaches, providing recommendations for SCIPPER AQ modeling activities.
• Development of the methodology for comprehensive physicochemical characterization of ship plume - onshore emission measurements.
• Development and testing of a new ultra-sensitive SO2 sniffer, built by a commercial quantum cascade laser spectrometer, integrated with AIS and a wind sensor.
• Development and testing of a low-cost sensor box for gaseous pollutants detection on-board vessels.
• Testing of a new Optoacoustic sensor for the measurement of black carbon and NO2 on-board vessels
• Testing of emissions data transmission process utilizing on-board emission data transmission format and S-AIS integration with sensors.
• Development of the Environmental Monitoring Center, a platform that acts as the infrastructure for visualization and fusion of processed sensor data (on-board, on-shore, and satellite) and AIS ship data to enable ship spotting and monitoring.
• Development of a consistent method for reporting SOx, NOx and PM emissions of the different remote measurement techniques.
• Validation of satellite observations for ship emissions monitoring with in-situ monitoring techniques
• Long-term data collection from fixed monitoring stations.
• Revision and validation of existing emission inventories (updated emission factors, updated method for LNG engines and methane slip, modelling of ammonia, methanol auxiliary machinery) and performance of coastal-scale AQ modelling.
• Review of current shipping emissions enforcement regulations and existing and emerging enforcement methods, and identification of gaps and loopholes.
• Policy recommendations on next steps in shipping emission monitoring, and in achieving future effective regulations that can be implemented and have visible deterrent results.
• Organization of 4 stakeholders’ workshops.
• 15 open access publications in peer-reviewed journals.
• Participation in 38 conferences, workshops, webinars, technical meetings etc.
• Creation of SCIPPER website ( and LinkedIn (SCIPPER Project), Facebook (The Scipper project), Twitter (@ScipperProject), YouTube (@scipperproject5866) accounts.
SCIPPER progress beyond the state of the art:
• Innovative cost-effective sensors for continuous on-board emissions monitoring. Some sensors were developed by SCIPPER participants and others were packaged to be used as complete monitoring devices for on-board applications.
• Recommendations on how to conduct remote measurements of gas-pollutant emissions from ships, including data validation procedures, uncertainty calculation and reporting.
• New communication protocols and environmental monitoring center.
• Advanced emission factors and inventories.
• A first-of-kind ship plume ageing evaluation and module development.
• Impact of shipping on air quality and new dispersion models.
• supported the enforcement of existing and upcoming sulphur, NOx and other -future- air pollutants regulations for vessels;
• identified gaps in regulations that may lead to higher than expected emission;
• delivered an assessment of current environmental compliance and corresponding contribution of shipping to air pollution, on which to base recommendations for further policy action;
• assessed AQ health impacts and associated external costs by estimating relevant exposure rates under the different compliance scenarios in different regions (port, urban areas, coastal areas, mainland) and different abatement technologies;
• quantified the environmental and health impacts of varying degrees of regulatory compliance on future emissions for selected test cases;
• contributed to EU pioneering at an international level regarding shipping emissions understanding, monitoring and regulatory enforcement;
• serves the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), especially Goal 3 on healthy living for all and Goal 11 on sustainable cities, but also other SDGs related to climate and biodiversity (Goals 13-15).
SCIPPER Campaign 3 in Wedel
SCIPPER Campaign 2 onboard
SCIPPER Campaign 2 measurement site in Kiel
SCIPPER Campaign 4 in Marseille
SCIPPER Measurements in Marseille in July 2020
SCIPPER Campaign 1 in Marseille