16,000 TEU container ship HMM Nuri is moored at Busan New Port using a mooring line

HMM to trial onboard carbon capture on a containership

South Korean shipping major HMM plans to conduct field tests of an onboard carbon capture system (OCCS) for containerships along with Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) and PANASIA in the second half of this year.

HMM Nuri; Image credit HMM

OCCS is an advanced technology to capture CO2 from greenhouse gas emissions generated during vessel operation, ensuring it is not emitted into the atmosphere. This solution has the potential to play a significant role in reducing CO2 emissions in the medium term, especially for the existing fleet.

The captured CO2 can then be stored and either reused or safely disposed of.

It can be implemented relatively quickly and without significant changes to existing shipping infrastructure, helping bridge the gap between current emissions levels and the ultimate goal of zero-emission shipping. It is generally less expensive than alternative measures such as switching to alternative fuels or electrification. That being said, the business case for OCCS is yet being explored as there are relatively few companies with mature solutions on the market.

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HMM has performed a feasibility study with PANASIA on OCCS for its multi-purpose vessel after the duo signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) last September.

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“The study revealed that OCCS could be installed without changing the existing equipment of the ship and does not hinder the stability of vessel operation. The collected carbon becomes liquefied in a pressurized tank and can be used for manufacturing dry ice or smart farm on land,” HMM said.

“Based on these findings, HMM will fit OCCS in its containership for an operational test with SHI and PANASIA later this year. HMM will take charge of the operation of OCCS, while the others will provide engineering support.”

In addition, HMM decided to replace the propellers of six containerships with more efficient ones specially designed for slow steaming. The replacement process will start in 2024, and HMM expects to increase energy efficiency by 8-9%.

“We will continue its efforts on a pathway to carbon neutrality by 2050 based on collaborative work with various industrial players,” an HMM official said.

Last week, the company announced that it had cut its carbon emissions by half over the past decade.

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The company ascribed the result to a more than two-fold increase in fleet capacity, from 337,407 TEU to 755,209 TEU, in the same period.

HMM has committed to reaching net-zero carbon emissions across its fleet by 2050, and in line with that goal the company recently ordered nine 9,000 TEU methanol-fueled containerships.

The vessels will be built by Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries (HSHI) and HJ Shipbuilding and Construction (HJSC). The shipping major has been investing heavily in LNG as a potential bridging fuel for its vessels and in 2021 the company welcomed into the fleet the first of eight LNG-ready 16,000 TEU containerships, HMM Nuri.

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