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Japanese Research Demonstrates Carbon Capture Using Scrubbers

carbon caputre using scrubbers
(file photo)

Published Jul 5, 2021 2:28 PM by The Maritime Executive

A first-of-its-kind test aboard a newly built ship demonstrated the feasibility of carbon capture and storage on an actual vessel. The successful demonstration is a key step in the development of CCS, which is viewed as a potential bridge technology to address decarbonization efforts to reduce harmful CO2 emissions from the world’s fleet.

Initiated by Japan’s National Maritime Research Institute (NMRI), the organizers said that the CO2 capture testing project was designed to provide real-world validation of results achieved in the lab. In laboratory tests, CCS has been shown to offer the possibility to extract carbon from emissions. In a full CCS solution, carbon removed from a vessel’s exhaust gas would be stored possibly underground to prevent it from entering the atmosphere.

The real-world test aboard a vessel required a full-scale hybrid scrubber system. The concept that NMRI has been working on with Alfa Laval, manufacturers of the PureSOx scrubber system, would expand the capabilities of the scrubber to add carbon capture until carbon-neutral fuels become more viable. 

“The positive results from our project with NMRI Japan show that scrubber technology could also play a role in removing carbon at sea,” said René Diks, Head of Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems at Alfa Laval. 

For this project, the scope was limited to showing that a scrubber could perform the CO2 capture on board. A Japanese shipowner associated with the research, who had installed PureSOx for SOx compliance on a newbuild, arranged with Alfa Laval and the shipyard to include the testing in the vessel’s sea trials. The modified PureSOx system was able to absorb CO2 from the auxiliary diesel engines in port while operating in a closed loop.

“Both short-term and long-term solutions will be needed to achieve IMO Greenhouse gas emission reduction targets,” says Diks. “Much development is needed before CCS can be deployed at sea, but this preliminary testing showed clear potential in the approach. Though designed to remove SOx, PureSOx demonstrated its ability to remove CO2 while operating in closed loop.”

Decarbonizing the marine industry will demand a wide range of emission-reducing technologies in addition to new fuels, the partners noted in revealing the results of this test. In addition to working with NMRI on this project, Alfa Laval is a member of the Getting to Zero Coalition and a Strategic Corporate Partner in Maersk Mc?Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping and is conducting other collaborations at the Alfa Laval Test & Training Centre in Aalborg, Denmark.