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Affordable Air Quality Monitoring for Ports and Harbours


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Hutchison Port Holdings Limited approached South Coast Science to provide monitors for air quality monitoring projects at three UK Ports of Felixstowe, Harwich International and London Thamesport. Each site was keen to develop a method of self-regulation using a technology that was accurate yet affordable.

The Need: Emissions reduction for ports & harbours

Following the UK Government’s Clean Air Strategy, all major ports in England are required to develop plans to reduce emissions as part of their Port Air Quality Strategy.


SO2 is one of the most harmful chemical pollutants associated with shipping. Between 2007 and 2012 approximately 11.3 million tonnes of SO2 were generated annually by maritime transport, according to a report by the International Maritime Organisation. NO2 is another pollutant of concern, in the form of emissions from dock-side mechanised handling equipment like cranes, forklift trucks and vehicles. Particulate matter (PM) is also of concern and is common to both environments.


Requirements for reducing emissions include, initially, gaining an understanding of air quality in ports and identifying baseline levels. The longer-term goal is to seek opportunities to mitigate high concentrations of pollutants.

The Solution: Actionable data from low-cost ambient air monitors

Two Praxis/Urban instruments were deployed at each port to gather air quality data in real-time. Each device is configured to measure NO2, SO2, PM1, PM2.5, PM10, temperature and humidity. They also operate using a solar power supply and transmit air quality data using 4G cellular communication (as well as storing data locally as a backup).


Devices are quick to install and require no supervision once running. Air quality monitoring data is distributed via the Cloud, in real-time and integrated with each port’s site management facilities.

The Outcomes: Impactful air quality interventions

Accuracy is key. Only with accurate data can each Port understand where and when concentrations of pollutants are above targets. Using the South Coast Science Praxis, whose accuracy has been independently certified to national and international standards, provides a commercially viable way to quantify what actions will have the biggest impact.


Monitoring at the ports of Felixstowe, Harwich International and London Thamesport started in early 2022, and we await an update on progress towards reducing emissions.


“At South Coast Science we’ve spent nearly four years working to improve the performance of the sensors used within our Praxis range of products. We now meet the need for accuracy and reliability in devices used within harsh environments. We’re very pleased to be working with Hutchison Ports.” - David Johnson, Sales Director - South Coast Science

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