New sulphur-sniffing drone checks shipping emissions in Danish waters

Over the next four months, a new drone is tested in the airspace over the Great Belt. The drone will check the sulphur content in the emissions from ships sailing on the busy shipping lane in Kattegat known as Route T.

The drone is provided by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), and will operate in a specific area north of the Great Belt, near Denmark. This is the second time EMSA is testing a sulphur-sniffing drone in Denmark. Last year, a different model patrolled in the area for three months. The new drone has previously been used for various surveillance tasks.

By flying into the ship’s exhaust gas plume, the drone can use its so-called “sniffer technology” to register the sulphur content in the ship’s fuel. These data are immediately available to the Danish Environmental Protection Agency, who can then follow up if a ship is emitting too much sulphur.

Several Danish authorities have cooperated to get the drone from EMSA in action above Danish waters. The test project is carried out in a collaboration between the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency and the Danish Maritime Authority.

The sulphur drone operates in Denmark from 1 July to 31 October 2020.

Picture by EMSA/Nordic Unmanned.

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.