February 28th, 2018

Our Project – Scrubbers: Closing the Loop

All of our project materials can be accessed here.

Scrubbers: Closing the Loop – An Introduction


“Scrubbers: Closing the Loop” is a project co-funded by the European Union’s Motorways of the Sea programme.

The project involves the installation of closed loop scrubbers on two ships sailing on the short sea shipping routes between Harwich (UK) and Rotterdam/Hook of Holland terminal (NL). The overall aim is to upgrade this important maritime link of the EU Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). Closed loop scrubbers were chosen for their minimal impact on the environment. While the scrubber system is designed to remove Sulphur emissions from the exhaust using wash water, the closed loop set-up cleans the wash water before recirculating it. A small bleed-off is extracted from the closed loop scrubber and treated with no harm to the environment.

As part of the project, the two scrubbers have been fitted with a measuring device for continuous follow-up of cleaning system efficiency. Furthermore, the project is developing chemical and waste management guidelines for scrubber use, to ensure a full circle and fully integrated management of scrubber chemicals and waste, from shore to ship and ship to shore.

In order to share best practices and exchange information among stakeholders, the project has created a “Scrubber Observatory Platform”. Through thematic conferences and the creation of an online tool, the Platform shares know-how and identifies knowledge gaps. With the same objective of sharing information, trainings are organised in the form of webinars.

In addition, as part of the project, an IT platform is deployed in the ports and on the ships, contributing to the EU’s objective on developing telematics applications and complying with the EU Directive on reporting formalities. Improving port efficiency will also be addressed through a number of IT upgrades in ports, including the development of a Terminal Management System in the Port of Rotterdam and the Port of Harwich.

The European Union information notice on this project can be found here.

Meet our partners


About IVL

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute has a broad environmental profile. Unlike many other players, we combine applied research and development with close collaboration between industry and the public sphere. Our consultancy is evidence-based, and our research is characterized by interdisciplinary science and systems thinking.

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute was jointly founded in 1966 by the Swedish state and national business interests — with a view of carrying out research on industrial air and water issues. Today we are an environmental agency concentrating on much more than that. Common to all of our assignments is the interaction between ecological, economic and social perspectives.

Go to IVL

About Harwich International Port

Harwich International (HWH) is one of the UK’s leading multi-purpose freight and passenger ports with road and rail links to the Midlands, London and the South East. It is ideally located for North Sea freight and passenger traffic to and from Scandinavia and the Benelux nations, offering first class Ro-Ro, ferry, container and bulk operations.

Go to Harwich International Port

About Lloyd´s Register Marine

LR is a leading international provider of classification, compliance and consultancy services to the marine industry, helping our clients design, construct and operate their assets to the highest levels of safety and performance.

Go to Lloyd´s Register Marine and Shipping

About Wärtsilä

Wärtsilä is a global leader in smart technologies and complete lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. By emphasising sustainable innovation, total efficiency and data analytics, Wärtsilä maximises the environmental and economic performance of the vessels and power plants of its customers.

Go to Warstila

Scrubbers: Closing the Loop – An overview


An overview of the various activities undertaken within this project is provided below. This section will be updated with additional documentation and media as available.

Installation of scrubber on Stena Britannica and Stena Hollandica


Both scrubbers have been successfully installed on each ship, with excellent results (as demonstrated in the Life Cycle Assessment section below).

Stena Britannica docked 31 October 2016 for the scrubber installation and left the ship yard 12 November 2016, while Stena Hollandica docked 25 February 2017 and left the ship yard 10 March 2017. A video of the installation can be viewed here via Damen Shipyards.

Life Cycle Assessment (including Exhaust Gas measurements)


IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute has conducted a number of measurements covering exhaust gas readings and wash water analysis. Data can be found here.

Development of chemical and waste management guidelines


In October 2018, Lloyds Register presented work towards the development of a set of guidelines generally applicable to closed loop scrubber systems using caustic soda (NaOH) as the neutralising agent. The presentation, as delivered during the second meeting of the “Scrubber Observatory Platform” in Brussels, can be viewed here.

Port Efficiency


Port upgrades have been carried out in both Harwich and Hoek van Holland. Pictures to follow.

Scrubber Observatory Platform


The platform is up an running after holding a first meeting in Hoek van Holland in October 2017, followed by a second meeting in Brussels in October 2018. Materials from both meetings can be viewed here.

SME training


Enterprises of all sizes are encourages to attend our events and webinars, for which more details are available here.

Single Window Reporting System


A secondary goal of the project has been to develop a Single Window Reporting System to help reduce the administrative burden on ships and to facilitate the use of digital information.

While reporting systems have been developed and tested in-house as a result of this project, European industry as a whole is eagerly awaiting inter-institutional agreement on the ongoing review of the EU’s Reporting Formalities Directive (establishing the EU Single Window). This review is hoped to remedy the current costly, unharmonised and burdensome reporting requirements facing ships calling at EU ports.

A joint position from the European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA) and the World Shipping Council (WSC) can be found here.

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