Against the backdrop of the IMO 2020 regulations, Finnish companies Meritaito Ltd, part of the Arctia group, and Kine Robot Solutions Ltd have jointly developed the Sniffer Buoy for air quality and emission monitoring.
The first Sniffer Buoy prototype is in the water now for a pilot period, spring-to-autumn 2020. It was installed in the Finnish west coast archipelago outside Turku and Naantali.
The Sniffer Buoy consists of remote emission monitoring instruments ecapsulated within a robust polyethylene navigation buoy combined with the AirNow emission monitoring service. The Sniffer Buoy is capable of detecting air pollution particles from vessels’ exhaust fumes. Sniffer Buoy coupled with the AirNow service´s AIS recognition and emission measuring instrument detects the amount of emissions and connects the results to right vessel. By using algorithms the program then assesses if the passing vessel complies with the adequate regional emission legislations.
The pilot is a part of the EU-funded Intelligent Sea project headed by Meritaito, in which a variety of technologically advanced buoys are tested in the ports of Naantali and Stockholm. The Sniffer Buoy is believed to be a real breakthrough in the market of marine air quality and emission monitoring. It is a fully automated watchdog, capable of spending years autonomously at sea working 24/7.
In remote emission monitoring installation location is vital as the exhaust plume moves with the wind. The Sniffer Buoy can be installed almost anywhere and is easily moved to adjust to seasonal winds or changes in vessel operation routes. The Sniffer Buoy has its own solar power unit, so no external infrastructure investments or regular battery exchange is needed.
“We expect the Sniffer Buoy to have a huge market potential”, says Seppo Virtanen, responsible for international sales at Meritaito. “Co-operation with Kine Robot Solutions is very fruitful and the knowhow of both companies complement each other”. Kimmo Salonen, technology director at Kine Robot Solutions continues: “Several nations and significant merchant harbours still lack an automatized emission monitoring strategy. This product could prove to be the missing piece.”
The first pilots still have to verify the functionality of the product and the quality and reliability of the measurements. In the waters of the west coast archipelago in Finland the Sniffer Buoy will have to identify the emissions of dozens of vessels daily to be deemed a full success.
By Jake Frith