‘20.08.31~’20.09.06 World’s first ‘carbon-capture at sea’ set for shipping trials


Japanese shipbuilding giant Mitsubishi announced on Monday (31 August) that it will build and test a carbon-capture system for ships, aimed at significantly reducing the emissions of the maritime sector.

In 2018, members of the International Maritime Organisation agreed to club together and work towards a 50% cut in emissions by mid-century. Technologies like hydrogen, ammonia and even battery power have been touted as ways of achieving that target.
But a lack of working prototypes and industry apprehension at the huge costs involved in developing greener boats have led climate analysts and activists to ask when and how the sector will actually start making the promised emission cuts.

Mitsubishi Shipbuilding – a Japanese company – said this week that it has started work on developing a carbon-capture system for vessels, which promises to reduce ship emissions by up to 90% and even produce raw materials for new fuels to be produced.
“The demonstration involves converting the design of an existing CO2 capture system for onshore power plants to a marine environment, and installing it on board an actual ship in service,” the firm said in a statement, adding it will be “a world’s first”.

R&D and the testing phase are set to last two years, with Mitsubishi expecting to complete construction of the onboard capture system by mid-2021. Sea trials will be conducted using an existing coal carrier operated by the Tohoku Electric Power Company.
“The knowledge gained will be used for the future development of technologies and systems to capture CO2 from the exhaust gases of marine equipment and ships,” the firm added.

One of the main challenges will be building a system that effectively captures CO2 and designing storage tanks for the emissions so that they can be transported back to shore in some form.

The effort will only be able to draw on limited expertise acquired by onshore small-scale and demonstrator capture installations that have been linked to energy production and industrial facilities around the world but there is no established industry to take the lead from as of yet.

An excerpt from