A feasibility study conducted by the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) and Stena Bulk has found that mobile carbon capture in shipping is technically feasible and has a long-term role to play in meeting the industry’s decarbonization targets.
The study, launched in October 2020, investigated the potential of capturing carbon from the exhaust gases of the large internal combustion engines that large ships predominantly use for propulsion.
Using a SuezMax ship, it considered the most challenging use case, a range of factors including energy balances, fundamental physics and integration challenges were assessed.
However, despite mobile carbon capture is technically feasible, the study warns that high operational and capital expenses would be involved in any deployment. More specifically, Capex is driven by the relatively high costs of the storage tanks, compressors and columns, while the cost of excess fuel burned is the highest contributor to operating expenses.
These costs are a substantial hurdle to deployment and cost reductions in several key areas would be needed for the long-term viability of the technology. Commodity prices for captured carbon dioxide may offset some of these costs, but this is difficult to assess
says the study.
On the other hand, by 2030 more mature networks and infrastructure to process and sequester large volumes of carbon dioxide are expected to be in place.
Utilizing those systems for the off-loading of carbon dioxide captured on ships may prove attractive
Taking the above into consideration, the study recommends further work should be done to compare costs of carbon capture against other long-term marine carbon dioxide reduction technologies.
In addition, the study’s findings also demonstrate that marine carbon capture can play a role in meeting the IMO 2050 target of reducing emissions from the industry by 50% compared to 2008 baselines.
If the costs of marine carbon capture can be sufficiently addressed, it could play an important role in a multi-pronged effort to meet the challenge of decarbonizing the marine industry
the study concludes.
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