A new methodology to quantify ship emissions in the Port of Barcelona reduces the emissions of the most contaminating ships


For years the environmental impact of port emissions has been overestimated due to a miss match in methodologies. Pollution from ship emissions has been increasingly under the spot light in recent years, with the local city council applying the standardised values outlined by the European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme/European Environment Agency (EMEP/EEA). The Port of Barcelona, having access to their own port´s data, adopted a methodology to calculate emissions based on data from a sample of vessels at their arrival, departure and during the time spent in the port.

The EMEP/EEA is an open guideline in the sense that if improved values can be demonstrated these can be used. África Marrero, CENIT´s Naval Engineer who headed up the project explains “Our task at CENIT was to define a methodology and a set of values that correctly reflects the actual emissions produced by a port, in this case the Port of Barcelona, and then to extend the approach to other ports throughout the region. The issue being that the European guidelines followed by the city council use the maximum values for emissions which in effect produces a worst case scenario, making the port appear to be a bigger emissions villain than what it actually is. On docking and whilst in the port, the vessels visiting our city´s port often do not have a full load nor are they operating on full power. This is a bone of contention with the Port of Barcelona as the pressure from environmental activists has grown due to the inaccurate data published by the local government”.

CENIT has validated a methodology that encompasses the vessels producing the lion´s share of emissions (ferry, cruise, container and RORO). That totals 76% of the emissions calculated, whilst other vessels (tankers, bulk carriers, LO-LO and yachts) will use the European Values for the time being. “Finally we have an accurate methodology to take a snap emissions health test at any one of our ports throughout the Catalonian region” concludes Marrero.


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