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SOLVAir Marine-La méridionale-ecology-Co2-environment

A world first trial to anticipate IMO regulations

SOLVAir® Marine & La Méridionale

French ferry operator La Méridionale chose SOLVAir® Marine’s solution to remove SOx and other particles from the emissions of one of its vessels, using the world’s first maritime dry scrubber.


La Méridionale, an operator committed to environmental issues 

Who is La Méridionale?

La Méridionale is a Marseille-based company that has been operating a ferry service to the French island of Corsica since 1937. Today, its fleet of three mixed vessels (Piana, Girolata and Kalliste) serves the Corsican ports of Ajaccio, Bastia and Propriano and transports more than 275,000 passengers a year.

La Méridionale’s environmental policy

La Méridionale was awarded the Charte Bleue trophy in 2013 in recognition of its environmental actions. It is for example the only Mediterranean maritime company to hook up its vessels to quayside electricity, enabling the full shutdown of their engines during stopovers.

To pursue its actions in favour of the environment, La Méridionale decided to anticipate the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 2020 regulations. In order to drastically limit its emissions into the atmosphere and generally reduce its environmental footprint, including by no longer releasing any pollutants (sulphur oxide and other particles) or waste into the sea, the company partnered with SOLVAY and Andritz to test SOLVAir® Marine’s dry scrubber. 

2020 IMO Regulations: what will change? 

The maritime industry has long been facing increasingly stringent regulations on air pollution. Yet currently, vessels still burn HSHFO (High Sulphur Heavy Fuel Oil), which emits vast quantities of SOx (sulphur oxides).

But this is about to change. The IMO Marpol Annex VI regulation has decided to limit sulfur content in Heavy Fuel Oil to 0.5% from 1 January 2020 globally - excluding Emission Control Areas (ECA) where a 0.1% sulphur limit is already enforced. Up to then, the general limit was fixed at 3.5%.


A 6-month test with SOLVAir® Marine to exceed 2020 regulations

Conditions of the test with the “Piana”

The trial campaign concerns 1 engine on the “Piana” vessel and will take place over 6 months, until October 2019, under the control of an independent NF-certified body.

This trial is part of our development strategy and follows the many steps we have taken over the years to limit our environmental footprint. After reducing our dockside emissions, we are now testing a solution to limit our emissions at sea. If the results this fall are conclusive, this dry scrubber process will go well beyond the regulatory requirements of MARPOL 2020 by eliminating 99% of fine particles in addition to sulphur oxides.

Benoît Dehaye, the General Director of La Méridionale


November 2018: The process began during the programmed technical shutdown of the Piana, with the installation of the foundations for the structure on the aft deck. 

April 2019: Beginning of the commissioning phase. A system comprising storage and handling devices for sorbents and residues are installed, as well as a filter.

May-June 2019: After commissioning, the approved filter system, the products and residues will be operated and optimized under all possible sailing conditions (during maneuvering, full load, minimum load, etc.).

July-August 2019: Trial at sea. The system is tested under the normal operating conditions of the vessel.

24-31 August 2019: Seven Day Qualification Test, conducted by CERTAM (the Regional innovation center for technological exchanges, located in Normandy) 

Qualification test + Report  and Investment decision