Maritime carbon capture ‘technically feasible’

20 March 2013
By Lorna Sharpe
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The capture plant is aft with the CO2 storage tanks in front of the superstructure

The capture plant is aft with the CO2 storage tanks in front of the superstructure

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) equipment could be used to reduce CO2 emissions from shipping, according to a concept study.

Ship classification society Det Norske Veritas (DNV)’s Greek R&D labs and UK-based Process Systems Enterprise were partners in the Maritime CCS project, with DNV’s Greek R&D labs leading on the shipping aspects while PSE provided expertise in chemical engineering and in modelling and simulation for process technologies.

Together they developed a concept design for on-board chemical capture, liquefaction and temporary storage of CO2 for ships in transit until discharge into transmission and storage infrastructures at the next suitable port.

They say the results show that the concept is technically feasible and capable of reducing maritime CO2 emissions by up to 65 per cent, while creating a tradable product.

Professor Nikolaos Kakalis, head of DNV Research & Innovation Greece, explained that the system uses amine-based chemical absorption to separate carbon dioxide from the flue gases.

It is then condensed and liquefied for storage in cryogenic tanks. This is established technology in onshore power stations, which the partners migrated and made fit for shipping use, he said.

The concept was developed for a typical Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC), and took into account the unique challenges posed by the maritime environment – constant movement, limited space and access to utilities, stringent safety requirements and the need for energy efficiency.

The carbon capture plant is located aft of the main funnel and the storage tanks fore of the accommodation section with no change in the vessel’s cargo capacity and without obstructing sightlines.

Professor Costas Pantelides, managing director of PSE, said: “This has been a challenging design problem with tight constraints. Applying a model-based engineering approach has been key to exploring the process decision space rapidly and effectively, and developing technically feasible and economically viable solutions.”

Kakalis said the next step will be to find companies that are able to start developing a prototype. “This is quite a radical approach. It will be really interesting to see how it can work, in small scale at first and then perhaps larger scale,” he told E&T.

The Maritime CCS project was jointly financed by the two partners, the UK’s Technology Strategy Board and the Research Council of Norway under the Eurostars initiative, an EU programme to support market-oriented R&D with the active involvement of SMEs. National governments fund their own participants.

Maritime CO2 emissions are estimated at over 1000 million tonnes per year, or 3 per cent of total emissions, and are expected to reach 2000 to 3000Mt by 2050.

The UK government has included maritime emissions in the reduction targets set by the Climate Change Bill, and the International Maritime Organisation is expected to drive a reduction from international shipping.

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