Martek Marine has been awarded a contract by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) for the use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), also known as drones, to help monitor emissions from marine engines.
The contract will require a drone to sample gases from the plume generated from a vessel’s engine using electro optical, infra-red imaging, gas emissions, and AIS detection sensors.
The RPAS can be flown over 50 km from the ground station, giving instant and continuous video feedback. An on-board gas analyser will be able to take samples of air and monitor sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and CO2 levels to determine possible breaches in EU law on the sulphur content of a ship’s fuel.
The use of drones or RPAS will help to improve environmental surveillance capabilities following the January 1, 2015 implementation of a 0.1% sulphur content in Emission Control Areas and will also assist with monitoring emissions come the 2020 0.5% global sulphur cap.
Data will be collected from the drones, while EMSA will organise and provide, as an institutional service provider, pilot RPAS service operations to support Member States with marine pollution detection and emissions monitoring.
Paul Luen, Martek Group, CEO commented: “We’ve worked hard and invested big to pioneer the maritime application of drone technology in the last 3 years. This EMSA contract allows us to combine our original ‘world first’ of ship SO2/CO2/NOx monitoring, with our unique drone platform to deliver another world first. We’re determined to ‘change the world using drones’ and this is the first of many applications which we intend to pioneer. We have made a real commitment to drone technology and envisage them bringing huge benefits to maritime operations and this tender allowed us to marry this capability with our world leading emissions monitoring pedigree.”
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