Technology Assessment

   Environmental technologies


Environmental Ship technologies


Zoi Nikopoulou

Maritime transport is the prominent mode for trade between EU and third-countries carrying approximately 40% of internal market freight flows and 90% of EU external trade. As a consequence  reducing  the environmental footprint of waterborne operations within acceptable limits is a key challenge for sustainable transport  (Ref. Waterborne –Strategic Research Agenda, Page 12 Section 2.1.4 ).

Environmental aspects on shipping refer to:

  • Air pollution  and Greenhouse gases GHG  (Carbon Dioxide, Sulphur Dioxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, particulates etc)
  • Ballast Water
  • Solid Waste and sludge
  • Black and grey water 
  • Under water paint
  • Noise

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   Glossary Terms


Acidification is the build-up of excess acids into soils, waters, and air.
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Ballast water
The water which is stowed in the ballast tanks to ensure stability and manouverability for the propeller, the steering trim and the draft
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Ballast water management
(on-board) activities aiming to limit environmental effects from ballast water
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A chemical such as bleach that kills organisms during ballast water management.
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CO2 sequestration
‘CO2 sequestration is the capture and permanent storage in geological formations of carbon dioxide that would otherwise be emitted to the atmosphere’ (IMO)
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Dead zone
An area that is hypooxic due to eutrophication. There, oxygene is depleted due to excessive nurishment of algae, caused by chemical nutrients (particularly nitrogen and phosphorous). Agriculture is a main polluter but shipping emissions are rich in nitrogen oxides.
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Diesel Engines
A diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that operates using the diesel cycle with highest thermal efficiency approaching 60%; manufactured in two stroke (slow speed) and four stroke (medium or high speed) versions
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It means excessive nurishment in an ecosystem (from Greek ευ and τροφή, nurishment). At sea, it is caused by surplus nitrogen and phosphorus depositions and is responsible for a line of problems, such as excessive growth of plankton algae and changes in species composition.
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Greenhouse gases (GHG)
Gases on the earth’s atmosphere which absorb and re-emit infrared radiation. The Kyoto Protocol lists six major greenhouse gases, which vary in their relative warming effect. The six gases are: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons), PFCs (perfluorocarbons) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).
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Grey water and Black water ( from ships)
It is the wastewater from galleys, wash basins shower cabinets etc. Back water is the waste water from toilets.
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Ground level ozone
It is the primary constituent of smog and is primarily formed when nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds react in the presence of hot weather and sunlight. It is responsible for health problems and damage to agricultural crops and buildings.
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Hazardous waste
Radioactive, explosive, corrosive, toxic, clinical waste, heavy metals etc as define in the Basel Convention.
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Initial clean-up
The first stage of cleaning an oil spill at sea. The aim is to remove large accumulations of pollutant and heavily polluted materials as quickly as possible in order to limit expansion of the pollution and ecological impact.
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Marine debris
‘Any man-made object discarded, disposed of, or abandoned that enters the coastal or marine environment. It may enter directly from a ship, or indirectly when washed out to sea via rivers, streams and storm drains’
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Non-oxidizing biocide
Biocides can also be lethal to organisms carried in the ballast water through various chemical means.
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Emissions of nitrogen oxides are produced during combustion. They contribute to a number of problems such as, human health eutrophication and ground level ozone.
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Oily bilge water
that collects in the bilge of the ship containing oil and chemicals.
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Operational discharge
At sea, the release of waste waters containing a certain quantity of hydrocarbons. The release is linked to the routine activity of a vessel
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Oxidizing agent
Chemicals that destroy the cell membrane through oxidization. A molecule that is electron deficient removes an electron from another molecule in this reaction. The process of rusting is an oxidation reaction.
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Particulate Matter PM
Fine particles as a by-product of combustion. The smaller they are, the more penetrating.
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Patty and Patch
‘Patty: a deposit of pollution roughly between 10 cm and 1 m in diameter. In the classification of pollution, it is considered smaller than a patch but larger than a tar ball’ (Black Tides)
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Scrubbing (sea water)
Washing emissions with sea-water in order to remove sulphur oxides (SOx). The waste sea-water is further diluted before discharged into the ocean
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Shipboard incinerators
On-board management systems for non-hazardous waste.
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Removing hydrocarbons from the water surface.
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It is fuel residue in the form of an agglomerate of solid and liquid materials with a tendency to form a deposit.
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Solid waste
All types of various forms of waste, either of human or natural origin, floating at sea or deposited onshore.
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Oxygen compounds of sulphur. The family of sulphur oxides emissions, mainly consisting of SO2, is produced during combustion due to content of sulphur in the fuel.
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Storm-berm relocation
(As response in poil pollution). The mechanical exposure and relocation of oiled storm berms into the tidal zone to allow natural tidal flushing and to enhance biodegradation
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This is the initial phase of purification of polluted water.It involves eliminating solid waste and large particles.
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  Additional Information for Environmental technologies
  Journal of Environmental Economics and Management
Review of Environmental Economics and Policy
Environmental Policy and Governance
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   Linked Topics
  Environmental technologies

Ship technology
   Related Documents
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   Lessons Learned
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   Information Sources
  Finish Environmental Institute (SYKE)
Maritime and Coastguard Agency
Scientific American
IVL - Swedish Environmental Research Institute
IMO - The GEF/UNDP/IMO Global Ballast Water Management Programme (GloBallast)
MIT Sea Grant Center for coastal resources - Massachusetts Institute of Technology
IMO - Anti-fouling systems and relevant regulation
Helsinki Commission (HELCOM)
IMO - Responding to oil spills
Lloyds List
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  FCSHIPS, Fuel Cell TP, Waterborne TP, HERCULES Project,  
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