Inland Shipping to Make Carbon Capture Available in Northern Europe

inland barges for carbon capture and transport in Northern Europe
Barges would make it possible for a broader range of industrial companies to be involved with carbon capture (Victrol photo)

Published Mar 21, 2022 8:53 PM by The Maritime Executive

A new partnership is proposing using inland shipping and barges to expand carbon capture and capabilities to a broader range of industrial companies from the mainland of Northern Europe. Dan-Unity CO, which is a partnership launched last year between Danish shipping companies, Evergas and Navigator Gas, announced the new partnership with Belgian barge operator Victrol to create hew new inland CO2 shipping capability.

The concept is to provide a comprehensive end-to-end solution for industrial companies in Northern Europe that might not otherwise have cost-efficient access to carbon capture and storage capabilities. Victrol will leverage its experience in operating inland barges as well as its LNG operation which has already completed over 500 ship-to-ship LNG transfers. Victrol would collect the CO2 captured at the industrial facilities and transport it on the barges to major ports such as Antwerp or Rotterdam. The CO2 would be transferred to the larger, ocean going vessels that Dan-Unity plans to build for transportation to Iceland where Dan-Unity has partnered with Carbfix for CO2 storage in Iceland’s volcanic bedrock beginning in 2026.

“This maritime transport will make CCUS available and cost-efficient to a much broader scope of industries and geographical locations,” says Steffen Jacobsen, CEO of Dan-Unity CO2. “Many large inland industrial emitters are currently left behind due to logistical issues. What we now offer becomes especially important once we start realizing that a lot of the heavy industries are located in mainland Europe e.g. the Ruhr district in Germany.”

Newbuild CO2 barges from Victrol the companies said can seamlessly transport CO2 via the European rivers out to ports creating opportunities for a broader range of industrial companies to participate in CCS. Once the carbon reaches the major port cities, it would either continue to be transported on the larger ocean going vessels for storage or possibly reused in other industrial applications. They also explained that the opportunities also exist to use the barges for collecting CO2 from several smaller entities in one region e.g. in Scandinavia or Northern Europe and combining it for a cost-effective solution to the issues of utilization and capture

“We are creating a full logistic value chain for industries in mainland Europe by using complementary services with barges and seagoing ships,” says Miranda Maes, CEO of Victrol.  “This way, waterborne industrial locations in for instance Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands can efficiently be connected to storage facilities.”

The companies expect to launch the barge transport solution by 2025. Dan-Unity and Victrol said that they can build the number of vessels and barges required using new designs with a lead time of only 27 to 28 months. They noted that it will also be easy to scale up when volumes increase.

The Danish shipping companies Evergas and Ultragas announced the formation of Dan-Unity CO2 in May 2021 as the first shipping company developing specialized vessels for the transport of captured CO2 for storage (CCS) and re-use (CCU). Before the end of 2021, they announced that they had completed designs and achieved approval in principle from ABS for designs for new vessels developed with TGE Marine that would be able to transport 12,500 cbm and 22,000 cbm of CO2.