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Reporting period: 2019-05-01 to 2020-10-31

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 impact. 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. Several studies using atmospheric chemistry models, field experiments in shipping lanes, measurements on ship plumes, on-board measurements and land-based observations of ship plumes, have showed that marine exhaust may be responsible for 20-30% of ambient NO2 and similar fractions of nitrate and sulphate PM over the southern North Sea coast.
To address the many and largely unexplored problems related to vessels emissions monitoring, SCIPPER aims to deploy state-of-the-art and next-generation measurement techniques to monitor emissions of vessels under normal operation. Different measurement techniques will be deployed in five real-world campaigns over main shipping areas in the EU. Together with SOx and NOx, which constitute the current regulatory priority, techniques to characterize PM, including ultrafine particles and black carbon (BC), will be deployed.
Thus, the overall objectives of SCIPPER are to:
• provide evidence on the performance and capacity of different techniques for shipping emissions monitoring, and
• assess the impact of shipping emissions on AQ, under different regulatory enforcement scenarios.
The work performed since the beginning of SCIPPER and up to now includes:
• Organization of the first stakeholder event in Brussels on 26 June 2019, where stakeholders discussed their expectations from SCIPPER regarding shipping emissions monitoring and regulations’ enforcement with the consortium and expressed their willingness to actively participate in the project activities.
• Review and assessment of available remote systems for ship emission measurements and of best practices on ship plume modelling.
• Conduct of Campaign 1 in the port of Marseille between 16 and 28 September 2019: actual emission measurements based on various remote measurement techniques (on-board sensors, sensor-equipped drones, onshore stations with remote sensing techniques).
• Development of the methodology for comprehensive physicochemical characterization of ship plume.
• Measurements in the port of Marseille on 3-17 July 2020 (part of Campaign 4): onshore emission measurements (NOx, O3, SO2, VOCs, PM) to characterize fresh ships plume and its interaction with local background pollution levels in the city.
• Conduct of Campaign 3 in Wedel (entrance to Hamburg harbor) on 7 September-15 October 2020: actual emission measurements based on various measurement techniques and data (on-board sensors, sensor-equipped drones, satellite data on shipping routes) to realize the AQ modelling of the regions involved.
• Review of current shipping emissions enforcement regulations and existing and emerging enforcement methods to identify gas and loopholes.
• Creation of SCIPPER website and portal social media accounts (LinkedIn: SCIPPER Project, Facebook: The Scipper project, Twitter: The SCIPPER Project, YouTube: SCIPPER Project).
• 1 open access scientific journal publication: Detection of NO2 pollution plumes from individual ships with the TROPOMI/S5P satellite sensor (
• 1 scientific journal article under review in Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss and 1 article submitted to the same journal.
• Development of the first version of on-board sensor system and communications box which will be tested for the first time in Campaign 2 and after modifications in Campaign 4.
• Validation of satellite observations for ship emissions monitoring with in-situ monitoring techniques, which will be tested in Campaign 5.
• Development of a consistent method for reporting SOx, NOx and PM emissions of the different remote measurement techniques.
• Long-term data collection from fixed monitoring stations.
• Organization of Campaigns 2, 4 and 5, postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic.
• Revision and validation of existing emission inventories and performance of coastal-scale AQ modelling.
Currently no available systems for routine monitoring of NOx and particulate components on-board the ships have proven sufficient, while the devices used for SO2 measurement downstream of scrubbers are known to still be prone to durability issues, further to their significant cost. SCIPPER will develop and test a prototype on-board sensors-box for monitoring PM, BC, NOx and SOx with an on-board application specific messages transmitter and satellite-AIS (S-AIS) constellation for transmitting measurements from open-seas shipping to enforcement authorities. SCIPPER will also develop the database, web visualization and onward encrypted data serving to third parties such as shipping companies, port authorities, flag states, coastguard agencies and the International Maritime Organization.
Regarding remote monitoring techniques, SCIPPER will develop a next-generation remote monitoring toolbox to allow sensitive sulphur compliance monitoring together with the measurement of NOx and PM. In addition, SCIPPER will establish a method for the harmonization of results from different monitoring techniques, including uncertainty characterization and reporting.
SCIPPER will also explore whether satellite observations could be used to monitor ship emissions compliance and develop a simple algorithmic formulation for estimating ship emissions based on high-resolution satellite NO2 data.
SCIPPER will enhance current AQ simulation potential to be able to accurately assess the impact of shipping on urban and coastal air pollution and, subsequently, on people’s health by building and calibrating a shipping plume ageing simulation module which will be integrated in available AQ models.
Thus, all experimental and modelling activities of the project will:
• Support the enforcement of existing and upcoming sulphur, NOx and other -future- air pollutants regulations for vessels.
• Identify gaps in regulations that may lead to higher than expected emissions (e.g. if NOx aftertreatment is not operational).
• Deliver an assessment of current environmental compliance and corresponding contribution of shipping to air pollution, on which to base recommendations for further policy action.
• Assess 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.
• Quantify the environmental and health impacts of varying degrees of regulatory compliance on future emissions for selected test cases.
• Contribute to EU pioneering at an international level regarding shipping emissions understanding, monitoring and regulatory enforcement.
• Serve 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
SCIPPER Measurements Marseille 2020
SCIPPER Campaign 1