air: seth

Treatment of ship emissions in ports

Where it comes from

Long-distance vessels, during their operations while in port, shut down their propulsion engines, but keep their auxiliary engines running, e.g. for refrigeration of cargo, lighting and/or operation of pumps for heating water for crew/passengers. Ships therefore continue to release combustion fumes, in which various harmful pollutants are present, into the atmosphere.


For at least 20 years, efforts have been made to identify methods to mitigate ship pollution and related human health risks. In addition to the well-known methods proposed in recent years, such as Shore Power or Cold Ironing, the washing of fumes with absorbers on board ships, and the changeover to less polluting fuels (LSMGO, VLSMGO, ULSMGO, LNG), the European Community, knowing that none of the methods listed above can solve the problem in question, decided in 2005 to add a radical method, which is the treatment of emissions in port.


The standard cited is DIRECTIVE 2005/33/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 6 July 2005, amending Directive 1999/32/EC. According to Article 4c of this standard, therefore, we will proceed to obtain authorisation for testing through a full scale pilot plant.



SETH is a centralised system for the treatment of fumes in port; it captures fumes directly from the smokestacks of ships at berth without physical constraint (DCE Module: Emission Capture Device), and conveys them to the treatment plant (DTE: Emission Treatment Device located on the quay), drastically reducing the polluting load of SOx, extremely harmful diesel particulate matter, NOx.


SETH was awarded in 2018 a research and development program funded by the Friuli-Venezia Giulia Region completed in 2019 and a feasibility study for the implementation of SETH in the port of Vado Ligure has been prepared and is attached. The study was illustrated to the Port Authority, the Municipality of Vado Ligure, the Province of Savona and APM Terminals in February 2021 and it was proposed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the parties to start an experiment in the Port of Vado Ligure.


SETH captures the fumes directly with a robotic system from the smokestack and conveys them to the treatment plant located ashore at the quay. SETH can be installed on any type of quay and can serve any ship (Cruise, Container, RoRo, Oil/Gas tanker, Reefer, Tanker…). The size of SETH is approximately (LxWxH) 10x5x6 meters and its operations do not interfere with normal dock activities.



Cold ironing

connects ships arriving in port to a dedicated power supply enabling the ship to switch off its engines


the most widely accepted solution is LNG (Liquid Natural Gas);



Capture and treatment of ship emissions by abating over 90% of pollutants.




The port of Vado
Ligure, which is the westernmost port among the four basins of the Western
Ligurian Sea Port Authority, was chosen for the experimentation of SETH. In
December 2019, the new Vado Gateway terminal capable of accommodating large
container ships was inaugurated. This terminal will host the testing of the
treatment system.

The SETH plant
can be divided into three sections:

• Emission
capture device and its accessories (DCE);

• Emission
treatment device and its accessories (DTE);

• Crowning Components
or Balance of Plant (BOP).



Emissions abatement


SETH is able to abate SOx down to very low values, with abatement efficiency of over 95%. However, in order to comply with the mentioned EU standard, it will be sufficient to limit efficiency to 90%. For diesel particulates abatement will be very close to 98%.


A SETH plant connected to the smokestack of a single container ship at berth in the port will be able to remove the following quantities of pollutants from the atmosphere:

  • 5 kg/hr, equal to 47 tons/year of sulphur oxides;
  • 2 kg/hr, equal to 17 tonnes/year, of diesel particulates.

In the case of naval emissions, the DTE is able to simultaneously abate particulate matter, SOx and NOx with the following efficiency values:

  • Particulates: 98% (even in sub-micron sizes);
  • Sulphur oxides (SOx): 90%;
  • Nitrogen oxides (NOx): 90%.

It will therefore be possible, as provided for by the law, to continue to power on-board diesels with FO BTZ, which costs about half the cost of LSMGO and, unlike LSMGO, is readily available. All in compliance with the law and in the utmost safeguard of the health of coastal populations and the environment.



SETH is a fast implementation system fully complementary to other abatement strategies such as cold ironing;

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The installation of SETH does
not require any modifications on board the ships
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SETH can serve any kind of ship;

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It is a system capable of treating all pollutants emitted from the smokestack of the ship (including emissions from the on-board boiler);

  1. It significantly reduces the main harmful pollutants from ships with % removals of sulphur dioxide (SO2), particulate matter (PM) above 95%, depending on fuel type and over 60% removal of nitrogen oxides (NOx) (precautionary figure depending on smoke temperatures);
  1. It is a dry system, so it does not lead to
    water contamination and the need for purification;

The system produces as the only waste inert powders catalogued as special waste that can be delivered to authorised dumps without treatment.

Innovatec sales staff is available for further information