BASF joins forces with CSSC on onboard carbon capture tech

CSSC Power Co., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), and the world’s largest chemical producer BASF have teamed up on expediting the progress of onboard carbon capture (CO2 capture) systems for commercial maritime applications. 

Image credit CSSC

The partnership is expected to leverage CSSC Power’s research and development capabilities as well as manufacturing and supply of marine engines and power systems and BASF’s gas treatment expertise.

The duo signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during the 2023 Shanghai International Carbon Neutrality Expo in Technologies, Products and Achievements to commemorate the partnership.

The cooperation aims to address the challenges of energy efficiency improvement and emission reduction in the maritime sector to meet the growing demand for the decarbonization of vessels.

Under the partnership, the companies plan to carry out tests against different types of marine fuel and engines to accelerate the development of onboard carbon capture systems using BASF’s OASE® blue gas treatment technology.

The gas treatment technology has been described as having low energy consumption, low solvent losses, and a flexible operating range.

It is reported that CSSC Power plans to complete the verification of the exhaust gas cleaning, carbon capture, and storage system this year and obtain the necessary approvals from classification societies in order to be able to further explore the industrialization of the OCC system.

BASF said the solution was developed to tackle unique challenges posed by the contaminants in flue gas sources from fossil power generation plants, steam reformers, waste incinerators, and the cement industry.

“Under the guidance of the ‘achieving peak carbon emissions and carbon neutrality’ goal and the trend of ‘green and low-carbon’ transformation in the shipping industry, CPGC is focusing on the development of low-carbon and zero-carbon marine power, energy-saving and environmental protection devices. The cooperation with BASF will help CPGC promote differentiated layout in the low-carbon and green shipping industry and gain an edge,” said Shao Yu, General Manager, CPGC.

“Interest in carbon capture solutions has evolved rapidly around the world, and we are proud to offer an excellent suite of gas treating solutions under OASE® to meet the growing demand. Through our cooperation with CPGC, we are cruising towards a sustainable maritime industry by bringing onboard our extensive experience in gas treatment, as well as our innovation and dedication to sustainability,” Vasilios Galanos, Senior Vice President, Intermediates Asia Pacific, BASF, said.

Onboard carbon capture systems enable capturing and storing CO2 emissions directly on ships, thus helping decarbonize the industry while continuing to burn fossil fuels. The solution would also provide immediate benefits for existing ships enabling them to continue trading before a new generation of zero-emission ships is unleashed onto the market.

However, several challenges hinder the widespread use of onboard carbon capture technology.

These include the development of efficient and cost-effective capture systems suitable for maritime operations that fit the confined spaces and demanding conditions on ships and do not impact the ship’s weight and cargo space.

Another challenge lies in the safe storage and management of captured CO2. Ships need secure storage solutions that can withstand the harsh marine environment while complying with strict safety regulations. Developing effective storage methods that ensure long-term carbon sequestration without leakage is crucial. It is also vital to have adequate shoreside facilities for offloading of captured CO2.

Moreover, the economic viability of onboard carbon capture remains a concern. Implementing this technology requires substantial investment, and ship operators must weigh the financial implications against potential long-term benefits and regulatory incentives.