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Danish EPA deploys new sniffer technology to monitor sulphur emissions

The Danish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will deploy a new sniffer technology to be mounted on helicopters to monitor sulphur compliance from ships at sea.

The sniffer technology is developed by Danish startup Explicit, which said that while a manned helicopter is currently required, the plan in the future is to deploy drones.

Danish EPA will perform the airborne surveillance on ships in Danish waters from this month. The objective is to detect and deter violations of the IMO Marpol Annex VI Emission Control Area (ECA) fuel sulphur content cap of 0.1%.

The new sniffer system is capable of measuring both sulphur and nitrogen oxide emissions from vessels to determine their compliance, and is small enough to be carried on a drone.

“The manned helicopter is an extremely efficient tool for this purpose, both because of the speed with which it can cover large areas and many ships, but also because of its maneuverability in the plume,” said Jon Knudsen, ceo of Explicit.

“You can achieve the same with rotary drones, but the manned helicopter currently has a much larger operational capacity,” Knudsen said.

The performance and uncertainties of the new system have been validated independently by FORCE Technology, the Danish Government Reference Lab for Air Emissions.

“Right now there is a lot of attention on the enforcement of Marpol Annex VI. We are increasingly being approached by authorities and other international partners interested in our technology and what it can do,” Knudsen said.

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