Japanese ammonia/LCO2 carrier design gains ClassNK AiP

Written by Nick Blenkey
Ammonia/LCO2 carrier concept drawing

The ammonia/LCO2 carrier concept is being developed as thermal power plants eye ammonia co-firing and carbon capture.

Japan’s Mitsubishi Shipbuilding and NYK Line have obtained an Approval in Principle (AiP) from ClassNK for a vessel designed to carry ammonia on one leg of a voyage and captured carbon on the next. The ammonia/LCO2 carrier concept is being developed as Japanese thermal power plant operators have been looking to end their reliance on coal, with the largest of them, JERA, already trialing co-firing of ammonia with thermal coal. They are also exploring carbon capture. Similar developments are underway in other areas looking to get away from coal.

Mitsubishi Shipbuilding and NYK Line have both been working on the technological development of ammonia and LCO2 (liquefied carbon) dedicated carriers, and both companies have already been collaborating on the technical development of large LCO2 carriers.

With the ClassNK AiP secured, the two companies will utilize their accumulated knowledge of ammonia and LCO2 to aim for the safe and economical transportation of ammonia and LCO2 by the same carrier. In a new variation of the combination carrier concept, the ammonia/LCO2 carrier could transport ammonia to thermal power plants on the outbound route and then carry CO2 emitted from thermal power plants to storage sites on the return route.

Mitsubishi Shipbuilding’s parent MHI Group is strategically working to strengthen its energy transition business. As a marine system integrator, Mitsubishi Shipbuilding is promoting the development and commercialization of ammonia and LCO2 carriers. NYK Line is continue to develop new technologies that, with the granting of the AiP, now including “ammonia-and-liquefied CO2 carriers.” It says it will utilize its abundant knowledge of ship operations to “contribute to realizing a carbon-neutral society by promoting the establishment of the CCUS value chain and the ammonia value chain.”

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