Australian, Japanese players join forces on industrial-scale shipping of CO2

Future Energy Exports CRC Limited (FEnEx CRC), JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corporation (JX NOEX), Low Emission Technology Australia (LETA), Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) and Osaka Gas have executed a project agreement to conduct research and development for transport of CO2 by ships.

Illustration; Credit: Daphne Technology

As part of the LP technology R&D project, the partners teamed up to conduct the technical feasibility and operability of low-pressure and low temperature solutions for the bulk transport of CO2 by ships.

Specifically, the project will involve studying behaviour and boil off characteristics of liquid CO2 under dynamic operating conditions and the impact of non-CO2 components through the following activities. It will be executed by FEnEx CRC, University of Western Australia, Curtin University, Seoul National University and deepC Store Pty.

According to the partners, the experiments will be carried out using laboratory scale facilities (such as pressure cell and boil-off apparatus) to study the phase behaviour and boil off characteristics of liquid CO2 under dynamic operating conditions and the impact of non-CO2 components.

The project will also encompass incorporating new data into custom engineering models for CO2 boil off and phase behaviour calculations developed by the FEnEx CRC and using the new data to test predictions made with existing software tools.

Moreover, the companies will work on designing pilot-scale carbon capture, utilisation &/or storage (CCUS) demonstration tests or projects needed to validate the engineering models anchored to laboratory data that can be up-scaled as part of a subsequent project.

According to MOL, the current design of liquefied CO2 vessels has a limited storage volume due to their operating pressure and temperature (18 bar, -26 °C). Low pressures and low temperatures (approximately 7 bar, -49 °C) are considered one of the best options to significantly reduce costs for CO2 vessel design. However, there is no record of liquefied CO2 transportation by ship under low pressure and low temperatures conditions. Therefore, it is necessary to address operational risks and enhance the likelihood of technical feasibility.

“Through this LP Technology R&D Project, we aim to mature the technologies needed to safely and efficiently ship large quantities of CO2. Through future demonstration of this LP Technology, we aspire to assist Australia and the broader Asia Pacific region reach Net Zero by linking key emission sources to long-term utilisation and storage solutions,” the parties noted.

“Australia has a unique opportunity to take a leadership role in developing industrial-scale CO2 transport. Successful research in this area will help maximise economic opportunities for Australia as well as forge increased international collaboration and cooperation vital to progressing our decarbonisation goals,” FEnEx CRC Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, Eric May commented.

“We will make collaborative efforts with Project partners to develop a feasible CO2 bulk transportation method through this Project. In addition, we are taking this opportunity to build good relationship with industry, government and academia in Australia for its large potential CO2 sequestration capacity, and also promote cooperation with Project partners for realisation of an overseas CCS project,” JX NOEX Executive Officer, General Manger, Sustainable Business Unit, Yasuto Ariga added.

“LETA has been investing in low emissions technologies for more than a decade to significantly reduce emissions and support the transition to a low emission global economy. LETA is proud to be investing in this project, which can assist in proving up technologies to enable transport of commercial quantities of CO2 from industrial facilities in Asia to storage locations in Australia and to build on the key trading and commercial relationship Australia’s export industries have spent generations building,” LETA Chief Executive Officer, Mark McCallum stated.

“We are very honoured and excited to have this opportunity to jointly collaborate with Australian research institutions and Japanese companies to advance the technical and commercial maturation for liquefied CO2 shipping transportation under low pressures and low temperatures. We believe the result of this project can be one step closer to the realisation of a lower carbon future,” MOL Executive Officer, Yasuchika Noma said.