‘Sniffer’ UAV Monitors Sulfur Emissions of Ships at Sea


Explicit, a Danish technology company specializing in data collection, has created a ‘sniffer’ unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that monitors sulfur emissions from ships on the water.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Denmark has committed $100,000 to the project, which also just received international recognition as one of 10 finalists in the 2014 Ocean Exchange innovation contest in Savannah, Ga.

In an effort to reduce pollution, the sniffer drone aims to catch sulfur violators at sea. The system uses self-guided UAVs to seek out ships during cruise, measure their sulfur emissions and report back in real time.

The government of Denmark recently announced an annual budget of $1.27 million dedicated to monitoring emissions. The $100,000 funding to Explicit's drone project is to help expand the sensor technology to also include nitrogenoxides. This increases the total EPA funding committed to the drone project to $280,000.

‘To have global innovation networks like Ocean Exchange recognize the potential in drones for environmental purposes is a huge motivation,” says Jon Knudsen, CEO of Explicit. “In the case of sulphur enforcement, drones are one of the few technologies available to ensure that regulations can be properly implemented and pollution levels reduced.”

Explicit's sniffer drone is also recognized by the Trident Alliance, an international coalition of shipping owners and operators who share a common interest in robust enforcement of maritime sulfur regulations.

The UAV is currently being tested with FORCE Technology A/S. The project also has backing from the Danish Maritime Agency and the Danish Shipowners’ Association.

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