LCO2 carrier developments set to pick up pace

Written by Nick Blenkey
LCO2 carrier

MOL’s 64,000 cubic meter LCO2 Carrier (Courtesy of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines)

It’s increasingly clear that CCUS (carbon capture, usage and storage) is going to play a major role in global decarbonization and the just-passed Inflation Reduction Act contains substantial funding to support CCUS R&D and application.

One place where work on the technology is already on the fast track is Japan, where the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) has a vision for implementing CCUS technology by 2030 that sees a need for long-distance transport of CO2 on a scale of one million tons a year.

As part of the NEDO project, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL) has developed a design for a 64,000 cubic meter capacity liquefied carbon dioxide (CO2) carrier that has now received Approval in Principle (AiP) from ClassNK.

ClassNK carried out the design review of the LCO2 carrier based on its Part N of Rules for the Survey and Construction of Steel Ships incorporating the IGC Code. On confirming that the concept conforms to the relevant rules, ClassNK issued the AiP certificate.

Norway, too, has an LCO2 carrier initiative underway.

Northern Lights, a joint venture between Equinor, Shell and TotalEnergies. already has two LCO2 carriers on order at China’s Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co. Ltd, for delivery in mid-2024. They will serve Norway’s Longship CCUS project and, at 7,500 cubic meters capacity, are substantially smaller than MOL’s 64,000 cubic meter design.

The Northern Lights newbuilds feature a host of energy and emissions saving technology, including hull air lubrication and wind assistance. Each will be fitted with a 28 meter tall x 4 meter diameter Norsepower rotor sails that, it is estimated, will reduce the fuel and CO2 emissions from each vessel by approximately 5%.

Tuomas Riski, CEO of Norsepower, commented: “The industry is transforming quickly and newbuild vessels are being built today to operate efficiently ahead of 2050. Therefore we are seeing the industry seeking to build vessels today which already have proven energy efficiency solutions onboard which can reduce fuel consumption, the associated costs as well as reduce emissions. As fuel prices increase and a carbon levy is initiated, getting newbuild vessels as efficient as possible is essential for long term commercial success. Northern Lights JV is setting a global standard for CO2 transportation by ships and highlights the importance of collaboration for accelerating the energy transition. Our technology, alongside an air lubrication system and other clean technologies will ensure operations are as low carbon as possible. This initiative also highlights the role that cleaner shipping has within complex supply chains and decarbonization strategies outside of the immediate industry.”

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