05 December 2023
Shipping company Stena Bulk has announced the results of a recent partnership with the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI). They have studied and explored the potential of carbon capture (CCS) systems at the point of exhaust. Note that the study sourced data from large commercial vessels.
Stationary carbon capture systems technologies onboard ships could be an important solution in the maritime sector’s race to decarbonize. To support the feasibility study into their use, Stena Bulk initially provided data from three vessels in its fleet; a medium-range (MR) oil/chemical tanker and a Suezmax crude oil tanker. The two are currently running on heavy fuel oil (HFO), and the other is an LNG carrier fuelled by LNG.
Stena Bulk provided information to support the study including key vessel technical information such as; deck space, fuel use, the availability of heat and energy in the exhaust stream, as well as wider considerations. For instance, if the vessels were technically representative of the wider global fleet.
The study showed that the LNG carrier offered the most straightforward path to implementing viable CCS. This is due to the proper mix of onboard infrastructure. On the other hand, the Suezmax and MR tankers presented more technical challenges in implementing a CCS system.
Particularly, the full feasibility study was based on the Suezmax tanker’s technical specifications.
This is due to the positive impact that potential CCS systems would have. Additionally, to test feasibility on a ship that was representative of the global fleet.
Above all, the results of the study show that CCS is technically feasible on a large tanker. The biggest challenge found was most likely the cost of installation and operation. This results from the storage tanks, compressors, and other equipment generating a large upfront CapEx barrier. On the contrary, by no means does this cost oppose an insurmountable challenge. Operating expenses would also increase, according to the study, because of the energy required to use the CCS system effectively. However, these costs could be substantially reduced if the engine was adapted for compatibility with carbon capture and storage.
In conclusion, these costs were likely to be a hurdle to the deployment of CCS in the near and medium-term. However, the technology improves and becomes cheaper to operate. Hence, it could be a persuasive option for the industry’s decarbonization trajectory. Wider context could influence this as well, with commodity prices for captured carbon dioxide potentially offsetting some of the costs for owners and operators.
“These results show promise, but also make clear that there are commercial and technical challenges that our sector must overcome if we are to use CCS as a decarbonisation solution. We think that it’s right that the industry is honest about the challenges it faces from a technical and commercial perspective on the pathway to decarbonisation. This study proves once again that there is no silver bullet solution to meet the IMO’s climate targets, and that we must promote and adopt a wide variety of proven and commercially sensible solutions if we are to successfully decarbonise.”Erik Hånell, President and CEO of Stena Bulk
“Carbon capture and storage is expected to play a key role in meeting the ambitions of the Paris Agreement and is a familiar process for many of the member companies of OGCI. Extending and adapting the technology to marine vessels poses unique challenges, but also represents a great opportunity to reduce emissions from a difficult to abate sector within transportation.”Dr. Michael Traver, Transport Workstream Chair for the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative
Nonetheless, considering the new Carbon Intensity Index, the concept of CCS may significantly improve the rating of the vessel. Since the vessel will have fewer carbon emissions emitted per year, the vessel will have a fine CII rating. However, the retrofit installation of the system comes at a cost as obtained from the subject study. Thus, falling in the same line with the other energy-efficient technologies developed to comply with the upcoming regulations.
Source: Stena Bulk