Finnish companies Meritaito Ltd, part of the Arctia group, and Kine Robot Solutions Ltd have jointly developed the Sniffer Buoy for air quality and emission monitoring regarding IMO2020 regulations. The first Sniffer Buoy prototype was deployed at the end of May for a pilot period, spring-to-autumn 2020. Installation was done in the Finnish west coast archipelago outside Turku and Naantali.   

The Sniffer Buoy consists of remote emission monitoring instruments capsulated inside a robust polyethylene navigation buoy combined with AirNow emission monitoring service. The Sniffer Buoy is capable of detecting air pollution particles from vessels exhaust fumes. Sniffer Buoy coupled with the AirNow service´s AIS recognition and emission measuring instrument detects the amount of emissions and connects the results to right vessel. By using algorithms the program then assesses if the passing vessel complies with the adequate regional emission legislations.

The pilot is a part of the EU-funded Intelligent Sea project headed by Meritaito, in which a variety of technologically advanced buoys are tested in the ports of Naantali and Stockholm. The Sniffer Buoy is believed to be a real breakthrough in the market of marine air quality and emission monitoring. It is a fully automated watchdog, capable to spend years autonomously at sea working 24/7.

In remote emission monitoring installation location is vital as the exhaust plume moves with the wind. The Sniffer Buoy can be installed almost anywhere and is easily moved to adjust to seasonal winds or changes in vessel operation routes. The Sniffer Buoy has its own power unit, basing on solar power, so no external infrastructure investments or regular battery exchange is needed.

“We expect the Sniffer Buoy to have a huge market potential”, says Seppo Virtanen, responsible for international sales at Meritaito. “Co-operation with Kine Robot Solutions is very fruitful and the knowhow of both companies complement each other”.  Kimmo Salonen, technology director at Kine Robot Solutions continues: “Several nations and significant merchant harbors still lack an automatized emission monitoring strategy. This product could prove to be the missing piece.”

The first pilots still have to verify the functionality of the product and the quality and reliability of the measurements. In the waters of the west coast archipelago in Finland the Sniffer Buoy will have to identify the emissions of tens of vessels daily. “The installation and start of the pilot was successful. The buoy has already delivered first results to the AirNow system which are now analyzed and compared to our reference data. We will be a lot wiser in the autumn”, Salonen adds.

More information:

Polyethylene Buoys: Sales Manager, Mr. Seppo Virtanen, Arctia Ltd,,
tel. +358 40 823 2122
AirNow Emission Monitoring: Technology Director, Mr. Kimmo Salonen, KINE Robot Solutions Ltd,, tel. +358 50 469 4001

Meritaito Ltd is now part of Arctia group. Arctia Ltd safeguards Finland’s maritime transport in the ice winter conditions in the Baltic Sea, ensures good water transport links and offers solutions for safe and efficient seafaring in challenging conditions throughout the world. In addition to services in icebreaking, fairway maintenance and hydrographic surveying, Arctia’s tasks include, e.g. pipeline and cable laying, towing operations, support in the installation and maintenance of underwater structures, oil spill preparedness and response, hydraulic engineering, and the manufacture of plastic spar buoys and other buoys.

KINE Robot Solutions Ltd is specialized in automation and software development. Integrations between industrial equipment and software systems has been the core expertise of KINE for over 20years. AirNow emission monitoring service has been running since year 2016 and handles remote emission surveillance on Finlands coast line. AirNow service includes all equipment installed and maintained, emission analyses and online reporting during the service contract period.