Innovative exhaust gas purification solution for the shipping industry

Maritime transport has been a catalyst for economic development and prosperity throughout Europe’s history. It secures the supply of energy, food and commodities and provides the main vehicle for European trade with the rest of the world. Almost 90 % of the EU’s external freight trade is seaborne. However, international shipping is a large source of greenhouse gas emissions.

The EU supports global action to tackle sulphur emissions and has thus put in place EU-wide data collection measures. In line with emission requirements, the EU-funded SulPure project will develop an innovative exhaust gas purification system. It is an all-in-one, ready to install, turnkey solution for the shipping industry. According to the project, it is easier to install and maintain than conventional systems. It is also cheaper than scrubbers, which are cleaning systems that remove sulphur from the exhaust (permitting the use of heavy fuel oil).


The advent of international sea transport, which now carries over 90% of worldwide trade, has shaped an interconnected global economy, but at a cost to our planet’s ecosystem. Maritime transport annually emits >1 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), sulphur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), which are known to lead to significant health and environmental problems. Approximately 90% of city dwellers in Europe are exposed to pollutants at concentrations higher than the air quality levels deemed harmful to health.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has addressed these concerns by introducing regulations for the prevention of air pollution under Annex VI of the MARPOL Convention (known as IMO2020). This regulation has been adopted by 177 states. Annex VI imposes a framework of mandatory limits on emissions of SOx and NOx and will come into effect in January 2020. As it is estimated that <1% of the worldwide fleet is currently operating within these regulatory limits for sulphur emissions for open ocean areas, there is a major need in the shipping market to provide a solution that is commercially feasible and can comply with the impending air emission regulations.

DAPHNE has thus developed SulPure: an innovative exhaust gas purification system. SulPure is an all-in-one, ready to install, turnkey solution for the shipping industry that simultaneously removes both SOx and NOx pollutants from marine engine exhaust gas, which is an unparalleled feat in the gas cleaning industry. It is also easier to install and maintain than conventional systems and is cheaper than state-of-the-art scrubbers.

By servicing only 32 ships (of the potential ~53 000 vessels) with SulPure by 2023, DAPHNE’s revenue will be EUR 63 million. Market and competitive analysis by the world’s largest classification society, DNV GL, and support letters from major European shipowners show that DAPHNE’s SulPure is the most attractive and competitive solution and attest to its potential.

More information about the project can be found at the project website.