Several major companies, including shipowners NYK, Sovcomflot, Knutsen OAS and Ardmore, shipyard DSME and mining company Vale are taking part in a project led Denmark-based Maritime Development Center to develop onboard carbon capture and storage.
The DecarbonICE concept is to freeze the CO2 in a ship’s exhaust, form the resulting dry ice into streamlined ice blocks and dump them in deep ocean areas. A statement explains that, since the CO2 ice is heavier than water, it will drop to the sea floor, penetrate the sediments and be stored permanently, primarily as CO2 hydrate. However, it adds: “Onboard carbon capture with subsequent storage at appropriate sites may also be part of an eventual solution.”
DecarbonICE is based on two new main ideas for the capture and storage, its backers say. The explain: “The CO2 and other GHG’s in the ship exhaust are captured on board in a cryogenic process and turned into dry ice. Proven offshore technology is then applied during normal ship operations to transport the dry ice into the sea floor sediments. Here the CO2 will be safely and permanently stored as liquid CO2
and CO2 hydrate.”
The project started on 1 October last year and will run through to the end of this year. The aim is to prepare a feasibility study and to initiate the IMO approval process for the technology.
Chairman of the DecarbonICE project, former DNVGL President and CEO Henrik Madsen says: “While we support a final goal of availability of zero carbon or carbon neutral fuels, we believe that a bridging carbon free solution is needed, which can utilize existing assets in terms of ships, propulsion systems and fuels. The DecarbonICE project is intended to offer exactly that, and at a predicted low energy penalty well below 10%.”
Alcohol, bio-methane and ammonia are “best-positioned fuels to reach zero net emissions”A new study by AP Moller – Maersk and Lloyd’s Register (LR) asserts that, based on market projections, the best positioned fuels for research and development into net zero fuels for shipping are alcohol, bio-methane, and ammonia.
“The main challenge is not at sea but on land,” says Maersk’s Chief Operating Officer, Søren Toft: “Technology changes inside the vessels are minor when compared to the massive innovative solutions and fuel transformation that must be found to produce and distribute sustainable energy sources on a global scale. We need to have a commercially viable carbon neutral vessel in service 11 years from now.”
The three fuel pathways identified in the study have relatively similar cost projections but different challenges and opportunities. “It is too early to rule anything out completely, but we are confident that these three are the right places to start. Consequently, we will spend 80% of our focus on this working hypothesis and will keep the remaining 20% to look at other options,” says Toft.
“The next decade requires industry collaboration as shipping considers its decarbonisation options and looks closely at the potential of fuels like alcohol, bio-methane and ammonia,” says LR CEO Alastair Marsh. “This joint modelling exercise between Lloyd’s Register and Maersk indicates that shipowners must invest for fuel flexibility and it is also clear that this transition presents more of an operating expenditure rather than capital expenditure challenge.”
The study notes that alcohols (ethanol & methanol) are liquids which are not highly toxic, and have various possible production pathways. They can be produced directly from biomass and/or via renewable hydrogen combined with carbon from either biomass or carbon capture. Existing solutions for handling the low flash point and for burning alcohols are well proven. Ethanol and methanol are fully mixable in the vessel’s bunker tanks, creating bunkering flexibility.
However, the transition of the industry towards alcohol-based solutions is yet to be defined. Bio-methane on the other hand has a potential smooth transition given existing technology and infrastructure. The challenge however is ‘methane slip’, the emission of unburned methane along the entire supply chain.
Ammonia is truly carbon free and can be produced from renewable electricity. The energy conversion rate of this system is higher than that of biomaterial-based systems, but the production pathway cannot tap into potential energy sources such as waste biomass. The main challenge for ammonia is that it is highly toxic and even small accidents can create major risks to the crew and the environment. The transition from current to future applications is also a huge challenge
According to Maersk and Lloyds Register, batteries and fuel cells are unlikely to have an immediate role in propelling commercially viable carbon neutral deep-sea vessels.
Meanwhile, Lloyd’s Register (LR) has granted Approval in Principle to Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co. and MAN Energy Solutions for an ammonia-fuelled 23,000 TEU Ultra-Large Container Ship (ULCS) concept design, said to be the first ammonia-as-fuel design of its kind in China.
LR facilitated hazard identification (HAZID) workshops to determine potential hazards throughout the design phase, covering areas limited to the ammonia-fuelled engine and the external piping systems. LR also provided technical guidance regarding the ship’s design and the provision of technical materials, in accordance with the goals and functional requirements from current and anticipated regulatory requirements, procedures and guidelines.
FinCo Fuel Group buys GoodFuels
FinCo Fuel Group, active in the downstream energy market with a broad portfolio of fuel products, has expanded its network with the acquisition of a majority stake in GoodNRG, the holding company of renewable fuels pioneer GoodFuels.
A statement says the acquisition will enable GoodFuels to tap into the complementary sourcing, supply management and logistics expertise of the wider FinCo Fuel Group. Pieter Peeters, CEO, FinCo Fuel Nederland, said: “With this acquisition, FinCo Fuel Group is sending a clear signal about our ambition and commitment towards supporting the sustainable mobility transition. GoodFuels has pioneered the sustainable fuel market for shipping and is an important market leader across other transportation sectors.”
Hybrid powered dredger deal
The technology group Wärtsilä has signed a strategic development agreement with Chinese state-owned shipbuilder CSSC Huangpu Wenchong Shipbuilding Company Limited. The five-year agreement is aimed at the joint development of a hybrid powered dredger, but the two parties say it could possibly extend to other hybrid vessels as well. The agreement was signed on 3 December, 2019 at the Marintec conference and exhibition in Shanghai.
Wärtsilä will support Huangpu Wenchong during the design and construction phases with technology innovations, system selection, performance calculations, and long-term services.
The initial work will be based on a hopper dredger, a vessel that the shipyard already builds. Evaluations will be carried out to determine the most suitable hybrid solution for that class of dredgers.
Shore power trial for coasters in Rotterdam
The Municipality of Rotterdam and the Port of Rotterdam Authority started a trial on 13 December to supply small sea-going vessels with electricity at the Parkkade quays in central Rotterdam. The project will cost €500,000 which will mainly come from the Government of the Netherlands through the Dutch National Collaboration Programme on Air Quality.
The vessels will then not need to run their diesel generators to generate power for use on board, resulting in reduced air pollution and noise. The trial will last around five months. Five different systems will be tested during this period.
”Shore-based power enables us to kill two birds with one stone: cleaner air and less CO2,” stated Arno Bonte, Alderman for air quality and sustainability. ”I’m expecting this trial to give us insight into using shore power in more locations, particularly in urban areas.”
Allard Castelein, CEO Port of Rotterdam Authority, observed: “We’re continuing to go that step further with shore-based power. This has been compulsory for inland shipping for some ten years. Stena Line in Hoek van Holland has it and we’re going
to install this for Heerema at Rozenburg. In the coming decades many more vessels will need to use shore power. But the larger the vessel, the more complicated and expensive this is. So it takes time.”
Following the trial on Parkkade, a second trial is planned for this year. It will focus on innovative shore power concepts for larger sea-going vessels. Funding of €1,500,000 has been earmarked for the project.
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