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Shipping industry evaluates CCS technology for marine vessels

23 October 2023

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies have been envisioned as an important option to decarbonize the shipping industry and meet the IMO GHG reduction objectives such as the 2030 goal of a 40% reduction in carbon intensity.

A number of recent CCS studies have shed some more light on the technical and economic viability of CCS processes onboard ships. These studies have focused on amine-based CCS process, where the exhaust gas CO2 is adsorbed using an amine-based solvent, followed by a recovery at an elevated temperature and liquefaction.

New Technology Guide paper, Carbon Capture and Storage for Marine Vessels, covers CO2 performance, fuel penalty, and economic analysis of CCS for ships

Amine-based technologies have a high technology readiness level but require high energy input, which can have a significant negative impact on the efficiency and the economics of the associated process. For land-based power generation, amine-based absorption technologies result in a nearly 30% drop in net power production, an 11% drop in efficiency and, due to the low concentration of CO2 in the flue gas, increase the cost of power production by approximately 60–70% for new infrastructure and by 220–250% for retrofitting [5966].

In marine applications of CCS, the energy demand includes mostly steam for the CO2 recovery from the amine solvent and electricity for its liquefaction. The question arises, what is the impact of the CCS process on CAPEX and OPEX of a ship? While the outlook varies from optimistic to pessimistic, the more optimistic analyses neglect to fully account for the total system costs, use simplified costing assumptions, and tend to overestimate the benefits of carbon trading mechanisms.

“The CCS technology not only reduces emissions, but also delivers a return on the investment,” said Georgios Raptakis, Manager, Marine Sustainable & Energy Transition Development, Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore in a recent article in Seatrade Maritime News. This statement, however, is not supported by CCS studies commissioned by the Bureau Veritas itself and by others.

A DieselNet analysis of a CCS study released by Bureau Veritas in June [5959] and other recent CCS studies [5957][5958] shows that the amine CCS process is associated with staggering levels of fuel consumption penalty onboard ships. The fuel penalty expressed as % fuel penalty per 1% of net CO2 reduction is in the range of 0.6. Hence, an amine-CSS process to remove 50% of the emitted CO2 would increase the ship’s fuel consumption by about 30%.

A CSS process to remove 50% of the emitted CO2 would increase ship’s fuel consumption by about 30%

The CAPEX for an onboard amine-based CCS system is considerable with values over €20 million reported. For several newbuild vessel types, it costs around 40% of the newbuild price to install CCS. For smaller bulk carriers, this value can be as high as 70%.

CO2 abatement cost estimates using CCS range from $175/t CO2 up. Current costs for CO2 under the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) are under €100/t and would need to rise considerably to make CCS a viable option for GHG reduction.

In conclusion, considerable reductions in energy consumption and costs would be required before carbon capture can be considered a viable option to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from marine vessels.

Source: Bureau Veritas | Seatrade Maritime