Italy’s Grimaldi Group designed and patented a filtration system capable of filtering the wash-water from shipboard exhaust gas cleaning systems (scrubbers).

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Open-loop scrubbers, already installed on dozens of Grimaldi Group ships to clean their exhaust gases, suck enormous quantities of water every day and then return them to the sea; before doing so, the new system filters the water and captures the microplastics, preventing them from being ingested by fish and other marine organisms and entering the food chain.  

The first company to obtain the non-exclusive license for the development and marketing of the new system is Wärtsilä. The microplastic filter will be an integral feature of the future wash-water treatment systems produced by the Finnish group.   

“It is a pleasure to continue our long relationship with Grimaldi and announce this innovation,” stated Tamara de Gruyter, president marine systems at Wärtsilä. “Microplastics are a pressing environmental challenge and we’re proud to work together with Grimaldi to tackle cleaning up the oceans. Even more importantly, the ability to capture microplastics shows how scrubbers are a platform for solving a wide range of sustainability challenges – and now even ones that are beyond the stack.” 

Grimaldi Group managing director, Emanuele Grimaldi, added: “We have already completed pilot testing of this system onboard one of our vessels deployed between Civitavecchia and Barcelona. The results are promising, with 64,680 microplastic particles collected on a single voyage between these two ports. We are glad that Wärtsilä also recognises the potential of this system, and we look forward to further collaboration to tackle microplastics in our oceans.”