VDL Groep to reduce ship emissions
A scrubber in operation

VDL Groep to reduce ship emissions

8 September 2017

Following on from the electrification of heavy duty mobility in the form of cars, buses, automated guided vehicles and tractor units, VDL Groep intends to continue help reducing the emissions from means of transport. The family-owned international industrial business headquartered in Eindhoven will now be supplying systems for ships that comply with the latest international requirements on the emission of harmful substances. For this project, VDL has entered into a joint venture with AEC Maritime, the Eindhoven-based specialist in air cleaning, that develops and markets filter systems for ships. These so-called scrubbers filter the sulphur particles and other components from the exhaust gases emitted by ship engines.

The new collaboration between the two companies, operating under the name VDL AEC Maritime, was launched on 1 September 2017. VDL AEC Maritime is based in Eindhoven. Scrubbers are nothing new to VDL. VDL KTI in Mol (Belgium) manufactured and supplied the first scrubbers in 2013 to AEC Maritime, the company that holds the patent for the scrubber system. In this particular technology, seawater is used to clean and store the environmentally burdensome particles on the ship. The scrubber is installed in the vessel’s funnel. The exhaust gas from the engine enters the scrubber at the bottom end, eventually leaving the scrubber at the top, as clean, white smoke. Water droplets in the scrubber absorb sulphur, soot, ash and oil particles, and the contaminated water in the system is subsequently cleaned on board the vessel.


Damen Green Solutions (part of Damen Shipyards Group) will be responsible for the complete installation of the scrubbers, subject to a collaboration agreement entered into between VDL AEC Maritime and the Gorinchem-based ship building group. “The biggest advantage of this new joint venture is that it offers customers one-stop shopping for the entire process from sale and engineering, through to production and installation of the scrubbers,” explained Kevin Kuijs, director of VDL AEC Maritime. Co-owner and technical director Marcel Clephas at AEC Maritime added, “The efficiency and solid financial basis offered by VDL Groep are essential for the growth of our business. Moreover, we are no strangers to one another: VDL KTI is already responsible for manufacturing our scrubbers.”


Since 2015, ship operators have been faced with stricter requirements governing the emissions from environmentally burdensome fuel oil. Starting in 2020, new standards will apply to all waters, worldwide. From that date onwards, sulphur emissions of between 0.1 and 0.5 percent will be permitted, as compared to the 3.5 percent vessels are currently allowed to emit. Against the background of this new regulation, VDL Groep is confident in the market potential for scrubbers: worldwide, around 70,000 ships will be required to restrict their emissions. One alternative is cleaner fuel oil, with a higher cost of consumption. Fitting a filter system is a more cost-saving alternative. Depending on the size of the vessel and the price of oil, the payback time for the investment is around two years. 

AEC Maritime

AEC Maritime, specialists in air cleaning installations, was established in 2013 at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven, by the three owners Winfried Sanders, Patrick Sanders and Marcel Clephas. Since 1994, the owners have been developing and supplying air cleaning systems to the agricultural sector and for industrial applications. AEC Maritime has since relocated to Flight Forum in Eindhoven and the company employs a staff of seven. The company has installed more than ten scrubber systems on board vessels. The first scrubber has been in use since the spring of 2014.

Additional information: www.aecmaritime.com     

The exhaust gas from the engine enters the scrubber at the bottom end, eventually leaving it at the top as clean, white smoke

In the port lies a scrubber, a soot filter for ships, ready to be installed