Poulsen, Mathias

Poulsen, Mathias

Industrial PhD ME Production

PROJECT TITLE: Packed Bed Scrubber for Marine Exhaust Gas Cleaning 

PhD period: 2018.06.01 - 2021.05.31. (has been prolonged till 2021.11.30).
Section: Thermal Energy Systems
Research Programmes: Heating and Cooling & Multiphase Flows and Heat Transfer
Supervisor: Kim Sørensen
Co-Supervisors: Thomas Condra and Lasse Rosendahl
Contact information

Collaboration: ME Production.
Funding: Innovation Fund Denmark and ME Production.


Currently maritime vessels are using Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) to power engines and for auxiliary power production aboard. HFO contains a significant amount of sulphur, which reacts with oxygen during the combustion to produce sulphur-oxides (SOx).  SOx is a harmful pollutant, which among others contributes to acid rain and respiratory issues. With new global standards for SOx emissions, from maritime vessels being enforced in 2020, the ship owners are forced to either switch to an expensive low sulphur fuel, or remove the sulphur from the exhaust gas produced when burning HFO by installing a scrubber aboard the vessel. 

Packed bed scrubbers are one of the different types that can be used to remove SOx from the exhaust gas, and will be the type focused on in this project.  In a packed bed scrubber, water is sprayed onto a packing material that has a large specific surface area, where the water absorbs the SOx from the exhaust gas. A model of a full scale packed bed scrubber will be developed with Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), where the chemical reactions and thermodynamics of the scrubbing process will be incorporated.

The objective of the project is to reduce operation and production costs of packed bed scrubbers while complying with the new global regulations. This will be done by capturing the performance of the scrubber with the CFD model, and validating it by data gathered from full scale scrubber installations.

The project will be carried out in corporation with ME Production in Frederikshavn, where test facilities are available. These will be used to test various conditions on packed bed scrubbers, where the data will be used to validate the model.


Publications in journals and conference papers may be found at VBN.