AMECS As An Alternative To Cold Ironing


California Air Resource Board (CARB) Allows Use Of the new Advanced Maritime Emission Control System (AMECS) As An Alternative To Cold Ironing In Marine Industry


The California Air Resource Board (CARB) issued an executive order in approval of the new Advanced Maritime Emission Control System ( AMECS) for use in Maritime Industry, as an alternative to cold ironing at ports.  The AMECS was developed by the Advanced Environmental Group (AEG).

The current method in use to reduce ship emissions is shore power.  Some of the Disadvantages seen with cold ironing are:

  • Requires over $1.7M per ship in modifications.
  • Relies on expensive electricity.
  • Taxes an already challenged power grid
  • Takes 3-5 hours to connect and disconnect from vessels.
  • Cannot be deployed until US Customs clears the vessel.

AMECS, on the contrary is a dock-based or barge-based system designed to capture and process exhaust emissions from the auxiliary engines and auxiliary boilers of ocean-going vessels.

AMECS comprises of two major components:

The Exhaust Capture System (ECS) and the Emissions Treatment System (ETS) composed of an active diesel particulate filter (DPF), selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology and an SO2 scrubber.  AMECS is the only technology approved and accredited by the CARB.

The advantages of AMECS system:

  • Does not require any ship modifications.
  • Does not rely on the power grid or expensive electricity.
  • Deploys in minutes, not hours.
  • Achieves superior environmental results.
  • One third of the operational cost of Shore Power

 IT has shown proven reduction in emissions to the tune of:

  • PM 94.5 – 98.0%
  • NOX (@1.6ppm ammonia slip) 99 +%,
  • SO2 98.5% ,
  • VOCs 99.5%

Vessels with shutdown engines also tend to have a daily auxiliary diesel exhaust emission, equal to 12,500 automobiles.  Whereas, AMECS reduces it to near zero.

Ruben Garcia, President of AEG is quoted to have said: “AMECS is a game-changer in the fields of emission control and air quality. Multiple AMECS units can remove thousands of tons of pollutants each year.  These mobile barge-mounted systems use patented technology to attach to the auxiliary exhaust stacks of nearly any vessel entering port – at-berth or at-anchor – eliminating the need for expensive ship retrofits, and providing the public with cleaner air.”

Representatives of the Port of Long beach opined that the CARB’s approval of AMECS  would result not only in emissions reductions, but will also provide the flexibility shipping lines need while further protecting the environment and creating new jobs for  communities.

Source: Advanced Emissions Control


  1. Cold irioning power comes from power plant. This does not address the pollution created at the power plant or the expensive cost of power or infrastructure cost at the ports.

    Not included is the 1.7 Million to retrofit the vessel. Also cold irioning does not remove emissions from boilers or control emissions from ships at anchor.

    Lastly article is correct. It takes quite some time to connect Vessel to shore power. AMECS connects in minutes and can handle multiple stacks simultaneously.

  2. Dear Silvia Caballero – Thank you for your comment. In fact, this is so much in detail, which shows you have read this article completely. Thanks for that. We will revert to each of your comments with proper references and sources which you can rely on.
    Thank you
    Best Regards
    MFAME Editor

  3. I can’t help but react on this article since some of the statements about cold ironing in it are confusing, not to directly say untrue. The two most fragrant ones are 1) the connection and disconnection times said to be from 3 to 5 hours, when in reality even for the largest vessels, these operations are handled in ports around the world in not more than 15 minutes, and 2) you say that with cold ironing auxiliary engines are still on with emissions equivalent to 12500 automobiles, whereas the whole point of using cold ironing is to stop the auxiliary engines onboard, so once the vessel is connected to cold ironing there is no emissions generated whatsoever from the vessel, and that includes CO2. Since no emissions are generated, your reference to the 12500 automobiles does not make sense, but still, for such a parallelism to mean something, you would need to state what type of automobiles, circulating at what speed and during what distance.
    Besides, your article does not cover the drawbacks associated to the use of gas exhaust cleaning systems, which are numerous. I will just highlight one: what do you do with the waste and sludge resulting from the capturing of the pollutants that you are still generating, since you are still burning heavy fuel at berth? You throw them to the sea? If you do things right, you need a treatment plant for them, which is also expensive in CAPEX and OPEX. Isn’t it better not to generate the pollution at all?
    Summarizing, I find this article partial and not well documented, and, in my opinion, should not have been published like it is.

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