World’s First Non-Polluting Ferry Sets Sail From Marseille, France

World’s First Non-Polluting Ferry Sets Sail From Marseille, France

A ferry boat with technology that filters all the particulate matter from its emissions is now boarding for service around the French coast.

The vessel keeps her passengers and the sea at large healthier thanks to filters that capture 99.9% of sulphur oxide fine particulates, allowing the Côte d’Azur to breathe easier.

If you’ve ever traveled by ferry or cruise around the Mediterranean’s islands, for example Caremar from Naples to Capri, you may have had the unfortunate opportunity to breathe in the black, sulphur oxide-laden smoke coming from the engine.

This contributes to substantial pollution of the sea via the deposition of these fine particulates into the water. La Piana, a ship designed by the French ferry company La Méridionale, has built-in filters modeled on those of ground-based waste incinerators or biomass power plants.

Sulphur oxides from the motor are emitted into a chamber of sodium bicarbonate, which destroy the particulates. The chamber is then emptied, and sent to a filter which captures them all. Once ashore a hazmat truck can cart the material away.

“The challenge for us was to make it suitable for the maritime sector,” said Christophe Seguinot, technical director of La Méridionale. “This involved making the device smaller and lighter, so it could be installed on board a ferry while leaving enough space for travelers.”

La Piana currently services Ajaccio and Propriano on the island of Corsica, and Tangier in Morocco.

It departs from Marseilles, which suffers inordinately of air pollution coming from cruise ships. Marseilles is one of the most frequented ports for European cruise ships, all the more now that Venice has banned them from entering her canal. Recently, 50,000 citizens signed a petition to ban cruise ships from entering the New Port, but they’re likely to make an exception for La Piana.

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