Port of Rotterdam installs sulphur sniffer

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An air quality sensor has been installed on Splitsingsdam at the Port of Rotterdam’s Maas Entrance to check Sulphur emissions from shipping, the port announced on 12 December 2019.

The sensor was installed by the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.

It is an application with real-time readings displays vessel emissions for inspectors when vessels enter or leave the port. This is one of the additional measures ILT is taking to monitor sulphur dioxide emissions from shipping.

The ‘sulphur sniffer’ was originally installed at Hoek van Holland. It has now been relocated to the ‘Lage Licht’ on Splitsingsdam in the center of the approach channel, where it will have a much better reach. The previous location was too far away from the area in which the largest vessels enter the port.

ILT has also been using a small Belgian plane to monitor sulphur emissions since 2018. The Belgian coast guard has been monitoring shipping emissions using a small Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences plane for several years.

A sensor extracts the air from beneath the plane to measure a vessel’s SO2 and CO2 emission concentrations. ILT is now also using this. Using the plane means that ILT can now also monitor vessels far out to sea.

As of 1 January 2020, and according the IMO regulations, sea-going vessels on the world’s oceans may only use fuel with a sulphur content of no more than 0.5%. The current maximum is 3.5%.

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