Today less than one percent of the world fleet runs on alternative fuels and it will take several years before enough applicable fossil-free solutions are in place. So what can be done until then? A pre-study within the Swedish Transport Administration’s
industry program Sustainable Shipping that Lighthouse runs focus on how capture and storage of carbon can be part of the solution.
“A large number of today’s ships will still be active in 20-30 years, so regardless of whether we get a functioning fossil-free engine tomorrow, we have a problem. Adjusting and building up sufficient production capacity for a fossil-free fuel takes a long time. Therefore, a technology that separates the carbon dioxide from the exhaust gases and collects it would be an important partial solution on the way to a fossil-free shipping”, says Karl Jivén, a researcher at IVL and project leader of the pre study Carbon capture potential on-board ships.
Different techniques for it already exist, but the question is which of them that works best on a ship.
– There are three main alternatives of technology, but then there are lots of variations on these. What we want to find out is how much space such a system takes up on board. Is it possible to install, as a retro fit, on a large number of existing vessels? Then we also want to know what it costs. How much energy needs used to power the system what is the investment cost?
Karl Jivén believes that carbon capture can suit some segments better than others. So far, it has been identified that the potential is great for LNG vessels, which is also an important part of the study.
“When you have LNG as a cold liquid on board, we think that in a heat exchanger you could use that cold to cool the carbon dioxide and thus make the process more energy efficient. Possibly you could also use the same tank infrastructure to store the carbon dioxide.”
“Another interesting thing is that there is a possibility to fuel ships with fossil free fuels such as LBG (Liquified Bio Gas), capturing and storing the CO2 and hence creating negative GHG emissions. Or with other words, removing CO2 from the atmosphere.”
The fact that Furetank, Terntank and Destination Gotland, which all have LNG vessels, participate in the project makes it easier, as does the fact that two students at Chalmers have carried out an ex-job within the framework of the project.
“The students have made a compilation of techniques and made a criteria analysis of what could be most suitable on ships. They have done a great job and you could say that we got off to a flying start”, says Karl Jivén.
The project will continue throughout the year and information will be collected in various ways, not only through literature studies but also through interviews and reference group meetings. In the project, the researchers at IVL and Chalmers are also collaborating with Norwegian Compact Carbon Capture (which wants to develop systems for carbon dioxide capturing on ships), Energigas Sverige, the Port of Gothenburg, the Swedish Transport Agency, Biogas Väst, The Swedish Shipowner’s association, the Swedish Transport Administration and Stena.