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NYK to Use Stack Cap for Emissions from Car Carriers at Berth in California

mobile scrubber for car carrier
Mobile scrubbers are attached to a vessel's stack in port to capture emissions (NYK)

Published Mar 5, 2024 5:56 PM by The Maritime Executive

Japan’s NYK group has become the latest shipping company to announce it will employ a stack cover and external scrubber system to meet California’s pending strict emissions regulations for vessels on berth. NYK plans to use this technology to provide exhaust gas capture services for its car carriers at major ports throughout California. 

The use of the technology is designed to meet the California Air Resources Board's (CARB) schedule to expand emissions regulations to more classes of vessels starting in 2025. CARB established emission regulations for ocean going vessels in 2007. In 2014, CARB mandated that ocean going containerships, passenger ships, and other vessels calling at California ports reduce while at berth their emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), reactive gases (ROG), carbon dioxide, particulate matter (PM), and diesel particulate matter (DPM). 

Citing the success at reducing emissions from container, reefer, and cruise vessels, CARB in August 2020 outlined the schedule to expand the regulations. Auto carriers will need to comply starting in 2025, while tankers docking at the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach must also comply starting in 2025. Tankers in Northern California will have until 2027.

NYK has concluded an agreement with STAX Engineering, a U.S. company providing maritime emissions capture and control through a technology where mobile scrubbers are either on a barge or shoreside. The emissions capture and control technology uses steel pipes and hoses to a vessel's funnel, allowing exhaust gases to be captured. 

NYK expects a total payment of up to $16 million to STAX, noting that the technology will make capturing and controlling exhaust gases possible without installing additional equipment on its vessels. Due to the pending implementation of the regulation, NYK acknowledges that it is an urgent issue to be addressed.

They are following a similar action by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines which in 2022 reported it would be working with another California-based company, Clean Air Engineering Maritime, to promote the development and use of a similar external exhaust treatment system as a new means to meet the requirements. MOL was also investigating shore power as a means of meeting California’s expanded regulations.