Study: Carbon Recycled Methane Qualifies As a Zero-Emission Ship Fuel

The Ship Carbon Recycling Working Group at Japan’s Carbon Capture & Reuse (CCR) Study Group, has claimed that carbon-recycled methane, which is produced by the methanation technology can be recognized as a zero-emission maritime fuel, in a technical paper published in the latest issue of Japan Institute of Marine Engineering’s journal.

Study: Carbon Recycled Methane Qualifies As a Zero-Emission Ship Fuel
Image Via: K-Line

The paper describes the details of the calculation procedure and the evaluation which was conducted by the working group.

Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), one of the members of Japan’s CCR Study Group, stated, “As the CO2 generated when combusting synthesised methane is considered to be offset by the separated and captured CO2, it is expected that CO2 emissions can be significantly reduced by using hydrogen generated by electrolyzing water with electricity derived from renewable energy” in a release by the company.

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Methanation technology is used for the synthesization of methane, which is the primary component of natural gas. The technology works by causing a chemical reaction between, hydrogen (H2O) and CO2 (carbon dioxide) in a reactor vessel, filled with a catalyst. Emitted CO2, which is separated and captured from various industrial facilities are used.

The CO2 emission per unit calorific value of carbon-recycled methane fuel by methanation technology on a well-to-propeller basis, stands at 27g CO2 per megajoule (27-gCO2/MJ ). This figure is claimed to be comparable to other alternative fuel candidates, which are generally recognized as ‘zero-emission fuels’. The efficiency of the separation and capture technology, can be improved, by the further reduction of the value to approximately 20g CO2 per megajoule (20-gCO2/MJ) and by using electricity produced from renewable energy, in the process. Claims the study group.

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The study group would continue to work upon issues such as CO2 transportation by large-scale liquified CO2 carrier vessels, prevention of methane slips, supply of hydrogen from renewable energy sources, supply infrastructure of liquefied methanation fuel, and economic viability, in order to verify the feasibility of using carbon recycled methane as a ship fuel.

Last month, MOL and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) have teamed up, to design larger liquefied CO2 carriers.

Japan’s development of carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS), carbon dioxide capture and utilization (CCU) and carbon recycling is being backed by the country’s government for the past two years.

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Nippon Steel and Itochu Corporation are the other companies, which are involved in the research and development of CO2 carriers.

This year, MOL invested in Norway-based Larvik Shipping, which marked the Japanese shipping giant’s entry into the liquefied CO2 ocean transport business. K Line, on the other hand, has been carrying out pioneering carbon capture technology at the sea over the past one year.

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