High fuel prices and stricter environmental regulations are forcing the inland shipping industry to improve the performance of their vessels and reduce costs. TNO is assisting the industry in reducing emissions and optimizing the propulsion system of diesel-powered ships. These improvements will make inland shipping clean, environmentally friendly and efficient.
TNO is developing efficient engines and propulsion systems that consume less fuel, resulting in a sharp reduction of CO2 emissions. This translates into lower operating costs and a reduced environmental impact. In addition, a particulate filter and catalytic converter in the exhaust system reduce harmful by-products such as soot and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) by as much as 95%. This means that exhaust gases are nearly completely clean. Although these systems will only be mandatory for new engines starting in 2016, existing ships fitted with diesel engines can benefit from them today.
In recent years TNO has worked with various engine manufacturers, suppliers and ship owners on optimizing propulsion systems. Many tests have been conducted at TNO's motor testing facility in Helmond and on board ships in the open water. This has resulted in the development of catalytic converters for the removal of oxides of nitrogen. This proven technology is now widely used in Europe. The new filters temporarily trap soot particles found in the exhaust. After some time, these particles are burned. This results in clean exhaust gas without increasing the ship's fuel consumption.