South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries working in conjunction with Panasia, an eco-friendly and energy system company, reports that it has developed and is testing a system that can provide an economical solution to carbon capture and storage aboard a broad range of vessels. They report that the system designed for conventionally fueled vessels also applies to LNG. providing they believe a commercial advantage in meeting the IMO’s carbon emission regulations and future demand for LNG-fueled ships.

Several programs are underway to develop carbon capture aboard ships, although some experts have questioned the commercial viability of the technology. Concerns have been raised about the operation of the technology as well as the cost required to retrofit it to vessels and the impact on operations. For example, a research project undertaken by the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), an industry-led initiative working with data from Stena Bulk, found that mobile carbon capture in shipping is technically feasible. That study found the LNG carriers offered the most straightforward path to implementing viable CCS, because they had the right mix of onboard infrastructure, but concluded costs were likely to be a hurdle to the deployment of CCS in the near and medium-term.

Samsung reported significant advancement with its technology, including that they had become the first company in Korea to receive an Approval in Principle from KR, the Korean classification society, for the carbon capture technology. According to the companies, the technology is eco-friendly using an amine-based liquid absorbent to separate and recover carbon dioxide from the exhaust gas of LNG that is burned in a ship’s engine or generator.

Recognizing the need for additional carbon reduction technology to achieve carbon neutrality in the mid- to long-term, Samsung Heavy Industries and Panasia reported that they had commenced their research project in 2020. 

Using a carbon capture demonstration facility built by Panasia, SHI says it is currently conducting a technology performance test on the carbon capture technology. Through continued research to improve carbon capture performance and technology reliability, Samsung Heavy Industries plans to commercialize a carbon capture technology optimized for LNG-powered ships by 2024.

Many experts have forecasted that LNG is a transitional fuel that provides a near-term solution for the shipping industry to reduce emissions while more promising alternatives ranging from methanol to ammonia are developed and become readily available. Last year, the World Bank citing data on methanol slip and other concerns recommended avoiding LNG and focusing research and investment on ammonia.

Park Geon-il, head of Samsung Heavy Industries’ eco-friendly research center, predicted that the combination of LNG propulsion technology and carbon capture technology is expected to become a realistic eco-friendly solution to meet the IMO’s carbon emission regulations. The success of the new technology he predicted will continue to drive the demand for LNG vessels.

In 2021, Japan’s K Line and Mitsubishi reported that they had successfully tested the world’s first carbon capture system aboard an operating ship. Similarly, in an effort led by Japan’s National Maritime Research Institute (NMRI), a group of researchers reported that they had developed a carbon capture system for a newly built ship incorporating it into the vessel’s exhaust scrubber. Wärtsilä Exhaust Treatment and Solvang ASA, a Norwegian shipping company, also announced plans to retrofit a pilot capture system to one of the company’s vessels by 2023.

Source: The Maritime Executive