The trend towards converting waste to energy and using smart control systems for waste processing is benefitting cruise ship operators
Oslo-based Scanship has launched its Microwave Assisted Pyrolysis (MAP) system, which turns waste into useful energy, aiming at the cruise market.
Scanship’s process turns all carbon-based waste – including sewage sludge, food, paper, cardboard, wood and plastics – into syngas and bio-char, which can be used to satisfy other energy demands on the ship.
MAP is designed to be the hub in the waste management system, bridging the recycling, food waste and wastewater sludge systems and obviating the need for a conventional incinerator. It produces syngas, which can be piped off and used to power a dual-fuel boiler, or even a fuel cell to produce electricity. The rest of the by-product consists of bio-char, which needs to be landed.
One of the benefits, according to chief commercial officer Bjorn Abraham Bache, is that bio-char is a commodity and can be sold, as it is a “very good product for soil enrichment” or can be used to cleanse contaminated soil and water. Scanship has also won a contract for a land-based company. “We have worked on this technology for several years,” says Mr Bache.
The company estimates that a cruise ship carrying 5,000 passengers can reduce fossil fuel consumption by about 750 tonnes a year, eliminating about 2,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
The company has calculated that if a cruise operator uses MAP to convert all garbage in an optimised manner, it could reduce the ship’s total CO2 emissions by about 5%, including CO2 captured in coal. Mr Bache adds: “Incinerators take a lot of energy to run, but MAP is an energy-positive system, so not a lot of energy is required because the gas it produces can go back into refuelling the system.”
Another advantage of the MAP system is that modules can be added to create larger systems for bigger cruise ships. “Its space requirements are less than for traditional incinerators as it is modular, so it is a good product for retrofit and newbuilds,” Mr Bache explains, adding “Another benefit is that cruise ships can most probably run it while at port (which incinerators cannot) so MAP can run 24/7.”
Enter smart biological systems
Smart solutions that enhance monitoring and control are also gaining momentum. Fort Lauderdale-based marine sanitation company Headhunter has produced a biological sewage treatment system called TidalWave – Smart Biological, which has just completed its final functional testing with the USCG.
President Mark Mellinger says: “It is a flat-plate membrane bioreactor with capacity range of 1,000 to 22,000 litres per day. It is called a smart biological system because each system will include an embedded PC for system control and integration to vessel monitoring systems.” The company intends to include videos in the control panel to teach technicians how best to operate the plant.
Mr Mellinger adds: “Application of this type of technology is well known in the marine market, as the first generation of flat-plate membrane bioreactors were utilised on Queen Mary 2.”
Headhunter is now targeting a wider market by reducing the size of the plant while complying with MEPC.227(64), including Section 4.2 for passenger vessels in special areas. “The functionally incorporates a range of simple and unique processes to bring flat-plate membrane biological systems to the mainstream market,” says Mr Mellinger.