Shipping company launches PM filter

07 Feb 2012
Collection and self-cleaning mechanism - exhaust gas from the engine enters four cylindrical filters and is emitted downstream; in the self-cleaning phase, the exhaust gas control valve is closed to prevent in-flow of exhaust gas and heat is applied to burn off the collected PM

Collection and self-cleaning mechanism - exhaust gas from the engine enters four cylindrical filters and is emitted downstream; in the self-cleaning phase, the exhaust gas control valve is closed to prevent in-flow of exhaust gas and heat is applied to burn off the collected PM

A Japanese ship operator has begun a demonstration test of a self-cleaning diesel particulate filter (DPF) system on an auxiliary engine of one of its ocean-going vessels, said to be the first such trial of a DPF.

Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has developed the system for marine diesel engines running on HFO, in conjunction with Akasaka Diesels, with research support from class society Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK).

The DPF system incorporates a filter using silicon carbide ceramic fibres. The filter collects particulate matter (PM) from the exhaust gas passing through. It is said to collect over 80% of PM produced by the engine, and significantly reduce black smoke emissions. The self-cleaning system automatically combusts and eliminates PM buildup in the filter, which means the filter can operate continuously without clogging and without attention from seafarers.

This is one of the environmental strategies in MOL’s mid-term management plan known as Gear Up, which commits MOL to a proactive stance in adoption of various technologies toreduce the environmental burden of its activities.

The initiative is part of ClassNK’s programme to support joint research and development with industry and academia. MOL had previously conducted a DPF demonstration test in 2010 on the main engine of a Japanese coastal ferry.

The test is scheduled for about one year, representing about 4,000 hours of operation, in order to verify the PM collection performance. The next stage will be to assess the system’s durability. The test started in November 2011, and MOL says its DPF has now operated smoothly for over 500 hours.

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