Characterization of particulate emissions from passenger ships
Projet ADEME
Approval no 1966C0011
Start: 2019
End: 2023

In France, the contribution of maritime transport to air pollution appears to be low if we consider conventional emission inventories approaches. On the other hand, this pollution is localized, especially in port areas where ships perform regular maneuvers. Among the pollutants produced by ships, SOx, NOx and fine particles are considered to be the three most problematic pollutants in terms of environmental and health impact. This CAPNAV project supported by ADEME as part of the CORTEA call for proposals aims to better quantify and characterize particulate emissions, particularly in the different phases of ship maneuvering.

Despite the introduction of limits on the sulfur content of marine fuels, the contribution of maritime transport to PM 2.5 emissions is estimated to have increased by 45% in the Mediterranean Sea over the period 2006 to 2020. To limit the environmental and health impact of maritime traffic, the International Maritime Organization has imposed regulations to limit polluting emissions, in particular by defining sulphur emission control zones (SECA zone), aiming to target this reduction in port areas, and in areas where maritime traffic is dense near the coastal edges. But fine particle emissions remain a major health and environmental issue.


The CAPNAV project aims to characterize the fine particle emissions from maritime transport on a conventional diesel propulsion and on an LNG (liquefied natural gas) engine. The objective is to deepen the knowledge on the nature and concentration of fine particles emitted by maritime transport, in particular through a precise quantification of fine particles emissions related to port manoeuvres, through dynamic acquisitions at the source (stack) synchronized with the recording of ship parameters (position, speed, load) and propulsion.

Dispositifs sur pont

Expected outcomes

The main results/outcomes expected are:

  • The definition of a validated experimental methodology for the measurement of particulate emissions under use conditions
  • A contribution to the calculation of emission factors used in the inventories thanks to the dynamic measurement approach, which will allow access to an emission zoning
  • Recommendations for seafarers on the impact of usage on emissions, which could also feed the reflection on the architecture of future ships more virtuous in terms of emissions

Next steps

The next steps are to consolidate the results obtained on the boat operating with a conventional engine and with an additive solution via the realization of next measurement campaigns on the Fromveur 2 of Penn Ar Bed. Then a first measurement campaign will be carried out in autumn 2022 on the Brittany Ferries boat Salamanca operating with LNG propulsion.


School role

The role of IMT Atlantique in the CAPNAV project is to characterize the chemical composition of the particles, in particular the heavier volatile organic compounds that have adsorbed and condensed on the particles. The methodology involves the sampling of soot emitted at the stack by filtration, distinguishing between periods of full load engine speed at sea or during manoeuvres in ports. The analysis is then done in the laboratory by extraction of the molecules with a solvent and analysis by gas chromatography coupled with a mass spectrometer.


Aurélie Joubert


Seven partners are part of the consortium:

  • Three engineering schools and associated research laboratories: ESTACA which is the technical and administrative coordinator of the project and is in charge of the characterization of particle emissions, IMT Atlantique/GEPEA laboratory and ENSM (National Maritime School).
  • Two shipowners: Penn Ar Bed and Brittany Ferries, which provide ships for the experimental campaigns
  • A shipbuilder: Les Chantiers de l'Atlantique (not financed) which brings its expertise in the sector
  • An innovator: BEE Distribution, which is proposing one of the technical solutions tested to reduce pollutant emissions using an additive solution added to the fuel

Logos partenaire Capnav



From the Energy Systems and Environment Department (DSEE) : Aurélie Joubert

Project holder: Benoit Sagot d'ESTACA


Project challenges
Sustainable Development Goals

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