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Sustainable ship recycling pilot in Germany

The high-pressure waterjet works from the outside to the inside and cuts steel plates of up to one meter thickness into pieces of any size. Photo: ANT AG

Applied New Technologies (ANT), a manufacturer of mobile water jet cutters in Lübeck, Germany, is managing pilot projects for dismantling ships using environmentally friendly technology.

The company says its process also facilitates the recovery of raw materials which can be used to produce ‘climate-neutral steel.’

In June 2022, ANT launched a pilot project in the northern German port of Kiel. Using an abrasive suspension system, ANT says ships are dismantled with virtually no emissions. A high-pressure water jet cuts ship steel plates of 10-millimetre thickness at a rate of two metres per minute. A similar project is planned in Bremen in northwest Germany.

Massive increase

The company believes the number of vessels to be recycled will grow from 7 780 ships in the last decade to 15 000 over the coming years. With enhanced regulatory requirements and the need for the steel industry to reduce emissions by approximately 30% by 2030, ANT considers recycling steel from ships to be a ‘notably sustainable option.’

‘Every year hundreds of ships around the world are decommissioned and scrapped,’ ANT says in a release. ‘The steel recovered from these ships is a valuable resource.’

It adds that the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, coming into force on 26 June 2025, and the EU Ship Recycling Regulation advocate environmentally friendly ship recycling and safe working conditions.

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