Scorpio Tankers, operator of more than 120 product tankers, is the latest shipping company to announce that it is joining efforts to develop onboard carbon capture systems. Experts initially questioned the technology’s viability for ships saying it could be better suited for industrial applications, but a growing number of shipowners, technology companies and shipyards are reporting progress either with a independent technology or by combining carbon capture technologies in existing exhaust filter systems. .
Scorpio Tankers is working with an American start-up Carbon Ridge to collaborate on the development of carbon capture on board maritime vessels. The agreement covers collaboration for the detailed engineering, design and validation process with a small-scale test unit on board one of the company’s vessels.
“We are delighted to partner with Carbon Ridge and assist them in their efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of shipping,” said Emanuele Lauro, President and CEO of Scorpio Tankers. “In light of the myriad questions surrounding alternative fuels, we believe onboard carbon capture presents a viable path to decarbonization for large segments of our industry.”
Carbon Ridge, launched in 2021, is working to develop modular carbon capture and storage technology for the maritime industry. The company points out that onboard carbon capture and storage requires an alternative approach to carbon capture at source compared to conventional CCS technology for stationary emitters. Its efforts are aimed at commercializing existing gas separation technology without requiring major structural changes. Its systems are modular and use vessels mounted externally on board, capturing CO2 from exhaust systems and storing it in cryogenic tanks.
“With a recent push toward well-standby emissions accounting, truly low-carbon alternative fuels will be in limited supply for the foreseeable future,” said Chase Dwyer, CEO of Carbon Ridge. “We believe carbon capture will provide the most cost-effective solution to achieving IMO decarbonization targets for the benefit of all stakeholders.”
Last year, two other shipowners said they had successfully tested the first carbon capture systems on board ships. The Japanese company K Line, in collaboration with Mitsubishi, installed a small CO2 capture plant on board a five-year-old 88,715 dwt bulk carrier, the Corona Utility. The companies said the system performed as expected, with their measurements showing the CO2 captured had a purity of over 99.9%.
The Finnish Langh Tech also reported at the end of 2021 the first successful carbon capture and storage trials on a ship in normal operation. The tests were carried out on board one of Langh Shipping’s vessels using the existing Langh Tech hybrid scrubber. Additional alkali was added to the purifier’s closed-loop process water to cause a reaction between the alkali and CO2, effectively capturing CO2 from the exhaust gases into the process water. Langh says the test setup was limited by the capacity of the existing alkali pump, but positive results were seen even with only a slight increase in the alkali dosage.
Several other projects are exploring different methods either to incorporate carbon capture into new builds or to adapt the technology to existing vessels. Earlier this month, Samsung Heavy Industries announced that it has developed a carbon capture system applicable specifically to LNG-powered vessels. The system, which uses an amine-based liquid absorbent to separate and recover carbon dioxide from exhaust gases, became the first in Korea to receive approval in principle from Korean classification society KR. Other shipbuilders, including Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), have also reported progress in developing carbon capture systems, while Wärtsilä Exhaust Treatment and Solvang ASA, a Norwegian shipping company, are working on technologies that are planning their first vessel upgrade by 2023 to test their carbon capture solution.