Pilot projects exploring the possibility of using carbon capture technology onboard ships are making strong progress towards providing a vital tool for decarbonization. While some industry experts have questioned the practicality of using CO2 capture on board ships, early tests are reporting success with the technology’s potential to be commercially available in as little more than two or three years.
The first test of using carbon capture on an operating vessel indicates that it successfully separated and captured CO2 from the exhaust gases emitted in service by a coal carrier operated by Japanese Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha ( “K” Line) for Tohoku Electric Power Company. In August 2021, the partnership working with Mitsubishi Shipbuilding installed a small-scale CO2 capture plant aboard a five-year-old 88,715 dwt bulk carrier, the Corona Utility.
Initially, experts from Mitsubishi Shipbuilding were on board the ship to operate, maintain the plant and explain to the ship’s crew how to operate it. They also measured and analyzed captured CO2 and evaluated system performance. Since mid-September, the ship’s crew has been responsible for the operation, measurements and maintenance of the plant. They will continue to assess the safety and operability of the CO2 capture plant to determine future issues to consider and conduct research and development for potential commercialization of the technology.
“K” Line and Mitsubishi reported that the system works as expected. Their measurements showed that the captured CO2 had a purity of more than 99.9%. They believe the captured CO2 can be reused for a wide range of applications, including chemical processes to improve fertilizer or methanol production, general use such as dry ice for cooling, and enhanced oil recovery. to increase crude oil production.
The companies believe the results enhance the potential for practical applications of marine systems. They plan to continue their research and development efforts.
Wärtsila and Solvang
As part of a separate development for carbon capture technology, Wärtsilä Exhaust Treatment and Solvang ASA, a Norwegian shipping company, have also agreed on a large-scale pilot installation of a carbon capture and storage system on one of Solvang’s ethylene carriers. Wärtsilä will design the modernized unit while completing a 1 MW terrestrial test system. The land unit will be completed in the fall of 2021 and the companies plan to upgrade the pilot system to the 21,000 m3 Mower Eos by 2023.
“Carbon Capture and Storage is an exciting development that we are proud to support, and we strongly believe this technology could be an important key to decarbonizing the global deep sea fleet,” said Edvin Endresen, CEO of Solvang ASA. .
The Mower Eos is a two-year-old vessel operating under a time charter by Marubeni Corp. from Japan. Marubeni will cooperate with Solvang and Wärtsilä to enable relevant testing and installation of equipment on the vessel.
“Joining forces with Solvang to build and modernize commercially viable CCS technology shows the industry that we are only two or three years away from bringing to market another essential tool in the shipping decarbonization toolbox. said Sigurd Jenssen, director at Wärtsilä Exhaust Treatment. “Our terrestrial test unit is nearing completion, and then we will make it a reality on the Mower Eos.”
In addition to the project with Solvang and the scale-up of its Moss CCS test unit, Wärtsilä recently announced its partnership with the LINCCS consortium to scale and create carbon capture technologies and infrastructure. The consortium recently received over $13 million in CCS research and development funding.