Dutch shipbuilding firm Damen Shipyards Group has become the first shipyard to achieve official European Union (EU) Stage V certification for its in-house developed emission reduction system.

With the vessels operating in ports and waterways that are close to or within urban areas, the company recognized the importance of developing an emission reduction system to address the health issues present by the particulate matter emitted by diesel engines as well as the environmental impacts resulting from excess nitrogen oxides.

Specifically, the Dutch shipbuilder developed Damen Emission Reduction System (ERS), a one-system-solution that combines soot filters with a selective catalytic reduction system to remove particulate matter and nitrogen oxides (NOx) as they leave the engine and before they enter the atmosphere. Furthermore, the system delivers substantial noise reduction that averages 45 dB(A).

“It has taken six years to reach this point, but our ERS goes beyond the parameters set by the regulators to ensure that they are robust and flexible,” said Raymond Watson, Technology Specialist Aftertreatment Systems at Damen.

“For example, they are designed to work with all standard fuels to ensure worldwide operability, and their modular design means that they can be installed on all types of vessel, matched to the specific operating profile of each.”

The ERS is designed for both primary and auxiliary engines generating between 300 and 700 kW of output. Sea-going vessels equipped with these systems are eligible for obtaining the Ultra Low Emission Vessel classification notation.


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To achieve certification, Damen partnered with Bureau Veritas. The two organisations have been partners for many years and share the ambition of making the maritime industry more sustainable.

“We were very pleased to be working with Damen on this challenging project. We went through a challenging learning curve ­ and the result is a milestone in certification as there are very few certified Stage V compliant systems at present. It places both organisations at the forefront of maritime emissions reduction,” Rik de Petter, Marine & Offshore Chief Executive Belgium & Luxembourg at Bureau Veritas, commented.

The development of the EU Stage V system began in 2017, following Damen achieving certification for its NOx reduction system to comply with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Tier III emissions regulations.

The Stage V legislation, which came into force in 2020, tightens restrictions on non-road engines and equipment and sets stricter limits on emissions, especially particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.

Damen is currently working on the certification of the ERS for multiple propulsion trains with outputs up to more than 4000 kW, and all will be available soon as IMO Tier III, ULEV and EU stage V certified systems for both new build and retrofit vessels.

Recently, the company has also decided to establish a new service hub in Hamburg, Germany. This takes the total number of hubs to fifteen, spread across Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East, and Australia.

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