Investigating jokers in the cocktail-effect: an examination of the synergistic effect of exhaust gas discharge water on marine organisms in the quest for future development of environmentally sustainable shipping (Codan) (39606)

  • Christensen, Anette Maria (Project Participant)

Project Details


Emissions from shipping are likely to increase significantly in the upcoming decades and increasing emphasis should now be placed on the sustainability and environmental impacts of the maritime transport sector.

Due to the increasing regulation of sulphur exhaust emissions shipping companies may avoid buying expensive low sulphur fuel by investing in exhaust gas cleaning systems, so-called scrubbers. This exhaust gas cleaning technology has a similar effect as using a more expensive low sulphur fuel in reducing air pollution.

The simplest scrubber system - known as open loop wet scrubbers - utilizes seawater to spray the exhaust gas, which washes out sulphur oxides and particles from the exhaust, and the scrubber discharge water is subsequently discharged back to the sea. Due to the washout of sulphur oxides, the scrubber discharge water is highly acidic with a pH of approximate 3 and contains high concentrations of diverse metals - particularly vanadium (V), nickel (Ni) and lead (Pb) - as well as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

The discharge of these contaminants to the sea could be problematic and have negative impact on the marine ecosystem. The productivity of an aquatic ecosystem is highly dependent on productivity and trophic transfer efficiency at the base of the food web, thus any eventual negative effects of scrubber discharge water on zooplankton - the primary link between phytoplankton and fish biomass - could have substantial consequences for the food web structure and ecosystem functioning.

The project is funded by Codan Fonden.
Effective start/end date01/01/201931/12/2019


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