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Japanese consortium to explore methanation tech for zero-emission bunker fuels

17 Jul 2020

Japanese shipping firm Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL) on Thursday (16 July) said it has joined nine other Japanese companies to form the Ship Carbon Recycling Working Group (WG) formed within Japan’s Carbon Capture & Reuse (CCR) Study Group (Note 1),and held its first meeting. 

Participating members are EX Research Institute Ltd., Hitachi Zosen Corporation, Japan Marine United Corporation, JFE Steel Corporation, JGC Corporation, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd., Nippon Kaiji Kyokai(ClassNK), Nippon Steel Corporation, and Sanoyas Shipbuilding Corporation, it said.

Formed within the CCR Study Group in August 2019, the WG aims to explore the feasibility of the concept of utilising methanation technology for zero-emission ship fuels. 

Through its activities, the WG aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero in sea transportation, which accounts for 99.6% of Japanese imports and exports, and thereby contribute to the formation of a sustainable society, said MOL.

Specifically, the nine companies listed the plan below  to assume a carbon recycling supply chain of methanation fuel that involves the supply of feedstock CO2, transportation of the feedstock, methanation, and conversion into marine fuel.

They will calculate the estimated amount of CO2 emissions in the supply chain, and based on these results, identify technical challenges and develop a roadmap for its realization.

The first stage of activities involves: 

  1. Separation, capture and liquefaction of CO2 emitted from steelworks 
  2. Transportation of liquefied CO2 by ship to a hydrogen supply site 
  3. Generation of synthetic methane from CO2 and hydrogen by methanation reaction, 
  4. Liquefaction of the synthetic methane and using it as marine fuel (Figure 1). 

In addition to obtaining an approximate value of CO2 emissions in this assumed supply chain, the group will also identify challenges and decide whether to proceed with subsequent next-stage activities along with the content of those activities.

The acquired knowledge will also be widely disclosed throughout the maritime industry, concluded MOL.

(Note 1)
The CCR Study Group was established with the objectives of proposing effective carbon neutral measures to reduce the use of fossil fuels by offering alternative energies such as synthetic methane, which is generated by combining CO2 generated by industries with renewable energy-derived hydrogen, and contributing to the establishment of a new energy supply system by 2050.

https://ccr-tech.org/


Photo credit: Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd.
Published: 17 July, 2020

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