Investment to reduce cruise ship fuel exhaust

Carnival invests in exhaust scrubbersThe world's largest cruise ship company Carnival Corporation is the most recent of several shipping companies, including other cruise lines, to apply for flexibility under the International Maritime Organization requirements to support the development of exhaust gas cleaning technology.

According to theEnvironmental Protection Agency (EPA), over the next three years, Carnival Corporation intends to develop and deploy a new type of exhaust gas cleaning system for shipsone that provides the potential to exceed the fuel sulfur standard ECA requirements, as well as provide additional benefits in the reduction of particulate matter and black carbon, at a lower cost than using lower sulfur fuel.

Carnival will adopt technology from power plants and automobiles to reduce air pollution from the massive diesel engines powering its ships,Huff Post reports.

In a tentative agreement reached with the EPA, Carnival Corp. will deploy scrubbers to reduce sulphur dioxide and filters to trap soot on as many as 32 ships over the next three years. At port, the ships will either plug into the electrical grid, rather than idle, to reduce pollution or use a lower sulphur fuel.

Emissions from oceangoing vessels had largely been unregulated and contributed to 30 major U.S. ports violating air pollution standards. In 2010, the IMO, at the EPA's request, created buffer zones along U.S. coasts requiring foreign-flagged ships to reduce pollution.

The steps Carnival is committing to take will cost the company more than $180 million and apply to ships operated by Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Cunard. But if the technology does not meet or exceed the standard, as Carnival expects, the company will have to resort to a more expensive solution, lower sulphur fuel.

Other cruise lines have also been preparing their ships for ECA.Royal Caribbeanhas also announced that scrubbers will be installed on newbuildsQuantum of the SeasandAnthem of the Seas; they have already been tested on Liberty of the Seas and Independent of the Seas,according to the company's blog.