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How the MEP works

The easy-to-use online tool provides ports with readily available emissions inventory data, combined with analytic tools to report on and extract the inventory that can be used to manage the local air quality in a more informed way.  

The MEP leverages RightShip’s ship-specific emissions methodology, unique vessel database, and when combined with Automatic Identification System (AIS), delivers an estimation of ship-sourced emissions.  

The emissions inventory is provided for CO2, SOx, NOx, PM10 PM2.5 and VOC specifically associated with port activities.

mep-methodology

Emissions inventory methodology  

The MEP is built on leveraging established technologies, validated data and proprietary emissions methodology to generate detailed emission inventories per vessel.  

 

Vessel Tracking – Satellite (AIS) data  

The Automatic Identification System (AIS) is an automated tracking system which is extensively used in the maritime industry for the exchange of navigational information.  

AIS data defines the vessel entry and exit from the port boundaries, together with detailed movement and vessel speed. AIS data is reported every three minutes while the ship is moving and every 20 minutes when stopped.  

A vessel call is determined by a ship entering and leaving the port boundary. During a call, each operating mode is calculated for each vessel and the vessel location data is also utilised to calculate speed. The AIS data is linked with RightShip’s unique database to determine ship characteristics that are required for calculating emissions.  

 

Port mapping 

The port boundary is ‘geo-fenced’ to define the project boundary. The subsequent terminals, anchorages, points of interest are also defined.  

Once the port areas are mapped, each ship mode is modelled per emissions profile: 

  • Anchorage: anchored within the port boundary,  
  • Transiting: transiting within a ship channel or open ocean,  
  • Manoeuvring: approaching a berth or terminal, and  
  • Alongside: loading or unloading a cargo 

 

Vessel particulars 

RightShip’s vessel database includes more than 50,000 ocean going vessels, and the various tugboats, offshore support vessels and port specific vessels which operate across the globe. We utilise the various vessel specific particulars including deadweight, main engines, auxiliary engines, boilers, etc. to enable the calculation of vessel emissions.  

RightShip’s database allows the application of specific vessel data, rather than applying generic estimates or assumptions. The application of vessel specific data significantly improves the accuracy of the emissions estimations.  

The MEP methodology covers the following vessel types: 

  • Ocean going vessels: bulk carriers, crude & product tankers, LPG tankers, LNG tankers, general cargo, containerships, cruise & ferry and ro-ro cargo ships.
  • Offshore support vessels: vessels that specifically serve operational purposes such as oil exploration and maintenance / construction work on the open ocean. 
  • Tugboats: used to manoeuvre other vessels by pushing or pulling them either by direct contact or by means of a tow line, also used for towing barges. 
  • ‘Other port specific vessels’: vessels usually based within (or routinely visiting) the port area that provide specific services.  

  

Vessel emission calculations 

RightShip’s proprietary emissions methodology leverages AIS tracking technology and validated vessel specific data to generate a detailed emission inventory. 

The methodology is based on industry standard methods including USEPA, California Air Resources Board, ENTEC (Entec UK Limited), and IMO guidance documents. 

The approach offers reduced uncertainties and data burden on ports whilst increasing the accuracy of the emissions inventory. Displayed securely online, ports can explore their emissions data quickly and simply via the custom-built user-interface.  

This ensures that the most robust approach can be applied for each specific air pollutant and reflects specific industry regulations that have been introduced over time to curb certain pollutants.  

A peer review of the methodology was conducted by independent scientists to ensure that the technical work products developed are correct, consistent, and based on the highest quality science.  

Overall, the independent peer review found that ‘the scientific and technical work product used high-quality science in its assessment and was found to be in line with existing guidelines and conducted in a rigorous, appropriate, and defensible way’.  

 

Core pollutants 

The MEP Methodology covers the core air pollutants associated with shipping activity.  

  • CO2 – Carbon Dioxide. A colourless and odourless gas that is naturally present in the atmosphere but also enters through burning fossil fuels that contribute to climate change.  
  • SOx – Sulphur Dioxide. A gas formed by fossil fuel combustion that can impact human health, biological processes, and form acid rain. 
  • NOx – Oxides of Nitrogen. A gas that is formed by fossil fuel combustion that can impact human health and can form acid rain. 
  • PM2.5 – Particulate matter including and less than 2.5 microns in diameter. Produced from a wide range of industrial processes including fuel combustion. The particles can impact visibility and once inhaled, can cause serious health effects. 
  • PM10 – Particulate matter including and less than 10 microns in diameter.  Produced from a wide range of industrial processes including fuel combustion. The particles can impact visibility and once inhaled, can cause serious health effects. 
  • VOCs – Volatile Organic Compounds. Grouping of a wide range of organic chemical compounds. They contribute to photochemical smog, react with nitrogen to produce ozone, and can cause serious health effects.