Short Story

Xploration Enhanced Atmosphere Methane Oxidation (EAMO) is to assess the feasibility of removing methane from the atmosphere and the exhaust gasses of ships by catalyzing chlorine chemistry in the exhaust plume of ships. Methane is a strong pollutant with climate forcing and other dangerous effects. The technique is presently investigated in laboratorium circumstances.

OceansX mobilizes her extensive maritime network to execute field-testing.

Reaching our funding target will enable OceansX to:

  • Generate momentum on global level with involved practitioners, businesses, institutions and authorities;
  • Facilitate mission focus to drive high level science to field testing experience;
  • Apply actively for funding in collaboration with businesses and universities worldwide

Support OceansX to Xplore this technique for a more sustainable maritime sector and beyond.

Support OceansX to prepare for Enhanced Atmospheric Methane Oxidation Field Tests

by Team OceansX

  • 40.000,00

    Funding Goal
  • 20.200,00

    Funds Raised
  • Campaign Never Ends

    Campaign End Method
Raised Percent :
Minimum amount is €100 Maximum amount is €
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Team OceansX

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Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas and has a 100-year global warming potential of 32 compared to CO2. The rise in atmospheric methane has been accelerating in recent years and this extra methane burden was not included in greenhouse gas emissions scenarios at the time of the Paris agreement. If the rise of methane levels continues, it becomes very difficult to meet the Paris goals [1].

But because methane is such a large part of climate forcing, it also presents an opportunity for addressing the problem [2], especially because its atmospheric lifetime is relatively short (about 10 years). Although methane control cannot replace the necessity of reaching “net‐zero” emissions of CO2, significant reductions in the methane burden would ease the timescales required to reach required CO2 reduction targets. And the good news is that this could be done at a cost that is low relative to the parallel and necessary measures being taken to reduce CO2 [2]. Reducing the atmospheric methane burden can put us back toward a pathway consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement. In contrast if no measures are taken to control methane, it would be necessary to reach the CO2 reduction targets ahead of schedule.

One illustrative pathway that would lead to compliance with the 2015 United Nations (UN) Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC, 2015) is Representative Concentration Pathway 2.6 (RCP 2.6)[3]. This pathway envisaged an immediate and significant fall in methane, allowing time to make progress on the more difficult task of reducing CO2.

Yet, by 2019, as a result of the unexpected rise, the atmospheric methane mixing ratio was over 100 ppb above the RCP 2.6 path. Rapid action to reduce methane levels would put us back on a path that is consistent with the aims of the Paris Agreement [1].

How does nature oxidize methane? The natural cleansing power (oxidative capacity) of the atmosphere is mainly by OH radicals, and to a lesser extent by chlorine atoms. Chlorine is estimated to be responsible for a few % of the global methane sink [4,5], and Cl has the advantage that it reacts much faster with methane than OH. Heterogeneous reactions of sea-salt aerosol is one of the main sources of atmospheric chlorine atoms [4,5].

Xploration EAMO is about removing methane from the atmosphere by restoring or increasing the oxidative power of the atmosphere using chlorine atoms generated by sea-salt aerosols.

In smog chamber tests it has been shown that the presence of iron in salt-aerosols can increase the generation of chlorine atoms by at least one order of magnitude (shown in salt pans [6] and in salt aerosols [7]). Similar types of smog chambers tests are currently being carried out.

These smog chamber test results mean that if soluble iron particles interact with sea-salt aerosols, it could substantially increase the generation of chlorine atoms. Because marine fuel oil combustion from shipping is the main source of soluble iron above the oceans [8], the shipping industry may have an important impact on chlorine chemistry and thus on the reduction of methane in the atmosphere.

Xploration EAMO is to assess the feasibility of removing methane from the atmosphere and the exhaust gasses of ships by catalyzing chlorine chemistry in the plume of ships.

Why are shipping plumes specifically relevant?

Some ships are using iron (Fe) as an additive in their fuel, to improve engine performance. Heavy fuel oils contain >20ppm of Fe. The burning of this fuel above the ocean generates these Iron Salt Aerosol (ISA) particles that remove methane.

Thus, this ISA effect is probably already happening on a large scale in shipping plumes, but nobody has ever measured the effect. By proving the effect in a shipping plume the technique can be scaled up to remove more methane and protect the climate. To give an indication of the effect: based on lab experiments with ISA, burning 1 ton of fuel with 100 ppm Fe might result in enough methane removal to compensate for 4 ton of CO2 emission.


The hypothesis that we want to test is that iron emissions by ships are catalyzing the generation of chlorine radicals in shipping plumes, and in this way enhancing the oxidative power and reducing methane levels in the plume.

Aim of Xploration EAMO

We want to test our hypothesis by experimentally observing chlorine chemistry in the plume of a ship, in which the plume contains iron emissions.

Scientists will use trace gas detectors to measure the concentration of methane and other gases across the shipping plume. This should demonstrate that indeed extra chloride atoms are generated inside the shipping plume, and that these chloride atoms are removing methane. The sensors can be mounted on a ship or on a drone that tracks the plume.

Support this Xploration

By supporting this Xploration you will support OceansXplorers to carry-on with the necessary preparations, coordination and applications for funding. The goal of this funding campaign is to cover expenses (40K) until October 2021. In that timeframe OceansX intends to:

  • Coordinate with authorities, businesses, institutions and practitioners to scope and align the timeline of the complex field tests. OceansX participates in weekly coordination meetings with a diverse group of subject matter experts.
  • Generate awareness amongst Oceans1 (sea-farers) community of practitioners to enhance awareness of methane as a GHG and acquaint them with possible technologies to reduce this potent gas. For this OceansX is planning webinars, live-events and informative briefings to stakeholders and it’s community of 600 seafarers (see
  • Search for, coordinate and construct serious applications for miscellaneous grants (US and EU)
  • Generate back-up funding plan (other than grants) to proceed with field testing

For more information don’t hesitate to contact Berend van de Kraats (


  1. Nisbet et al, „”Very Strong Atmospheric Methane Growth in the 4 Years 2014–2017: Implications for the Paris Agreement”, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 33,318–342 (2019).
  2. Nisbet et al. (2020). Methane mitigation: methods to reduce emissions, on the path to the Paris agreement. Reviews of Geophysics, 58, e2019RG000675.
  3. Collins, M., et al.: Section The New Concentration Driven RCP Scenarios, and their Extensions, in: Chapter 12: Long-term Climate Change: Projections, Commitments and Irreversibility (archived 16 July 2014), in: IPCC AR5 WG1 2013, pp. 1045–1047.
  4. Hossaini, R., M. P. Chipperfield, A. Saiz-Lopez, R. Fernandez, S. Monks, W. Feng,P. Brauer, and R. von Glasow (2016), A global model of tropospheric chlorine chemistry: Organic versus inorganic sources and impact on methane oxidation, J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 121, 14,271–14,297, doi:10.1002/2016JD025756.
  5. Wang, X., Jacob, D. J., Eastham, S. D., Sulprizio, M. P., Zhu, L., Chen, Q., Alexander, B., Sherwen, T., Evans, M. J., Lee, B. H., Haskins, J. D., Lopez-Hilfiker, F. D., Thornton, J. A., Huey, G. L., and Liao, H.: The role of chlorine in global tropospheric chemistry, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 19, 3981–4003, , 2019 .
  6. Increase chlorine production when Fe is added to salt pans (smog chamber experiment):
  7. J. Wittmer, C. Zetsch, Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry volume 74, pages 187–204(2017) “Photochemical activation of chlorine by iron-oxide aerosol” (2016),
NameDonate AmountDate
Peter Jenkins 19.500,00June 29, 2021
Peter Jenkins 500,00May 18, 2021
Julia Dederer 100,00May 11, 2021
Renaud de RICHTER 100,00May 11, 2021


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