Photo: Illustration/Ocean Harvesting Technologies’ wave energy technology (Courtesy of Ocean Harvesting Technologies)

In Focus: In pursuit of carbon-neutrality – the holy grail of energy transition

In this week’s edition of our In Focus article, we take a deep dive into the most relevant developments from the energy world targeting emission cuts.

In the Fossil Fuels market, oil and gas company Lundin Energy sold what has been described as the world’s first-ever certified carbon neutrally produced oil.

The oil was purchased by Saras S.p.A from the company’s Edvard Grieg field offshore Norway, which according to Lundin Energy, is the first oil field in the world to be independently certified by Intertek Group, under its CarbonClear certification.

As explained, residual emissions of 2,302 tonnes of CO2 resulting from the oil production were compensated through a high-quality, nature-based carbon capture project, certified by the Verified Carbon Standard.

The first-ever carbon neutrally produced crude oil Saras bought was delivered to a refinery in Sarroch, Sardinia. The Edvard Grieg field supplied 600,000 barrels.

In pursuit of its decarbonization strategy, the oil major has partnered up with Swedish wave energy developer Ocean Harvesting Technologies to explore the potential of using wave energy to provide clean electricity to oil and gas on offshore platforms.

The companies are collaborating on a new R&D study on how the installation of wave energy converters could potentially provide green, stable, and cost-effective electricity to an offshore platform.

The one-year project will run until February 2022 and will provide valuable data and information on how to electrify major offshore operations with wave power.

Zeroing in on major partnerships, industry heavyweights Shell, RWE, GASCADE, and Gasunie have signed a declaration of intent to further intensify their collaboration on the AquaDuctus project.

Image credit: RWE

The AquaDuctus pipeline will transport green hydrogen from the German North Sea directly to the continent.

It is part of the AquaVentus initiative, which plans to install 10 GW of electrolysis capacity for green hydrogen production from offshore wind power between Heligoland and the Dogger Bank sandbank.

Once the construction of the generation plants is fully completed, AquaDuctus would transport up to one million tonnes of hydrogen annually from 2035 onwards.

The first step in the AquaDuctus project is to carry out a detailed feasibility study, RWE said.

On the vessel design and shipbuilding front, Höegh Autoliners plans to have its 1st zero-carbon ready car carrier by 2023.

Revealing its Aurora Class of vessels, designed for 9,100 car equivalent units, making them the world’s largest car carriers, the company said it had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with its long-term partner Xiamen Shipbuilding Industry to build the ships.

Image credit: Höegh Autoliners

As explained by MAN Energy Solutions, the ship will feature a MAN B&W engine able to operate on various fuel types. After modifications of the engine, tank and auxiliary systems, the engine will be ready to run on virtually any future zero carbon emission fuels, including ammonia.

Speaking of sustainable vessels, earlier this week, the Coastal Crown, was launched at the Bijlsma Wartena shipyard in the Netherlands.

The 36-meter-long workboat, the newest addition to Acta Marine’s fleet, is an ultra-shallow draft Multicat-type, equipped with Tier III engines to lower NOx emissions.

According to Acta Marine, she will be equipped with a 300kWh battery-hybrid pack for both propulsion and the ship’s accommodation, resulting in a big reduction in fuel and CO2 emissions.

Moving on to the clean fuels market, a new study published by environmental NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) shows that 7% of the EU’s shipping fuels need to be green by 2030 for the sector to decarbonise by mid-century.

Up to a third of emissions could be cut in 2050 through improved efficiency alone. But this will not be enough to decarbonise the sector, said T&E. If the industry is to cut emissions further it will need to transition to e-ammonia and e-hydrogen which are currently the cheapest green fuel options.

The study estimates that combined energy efficiency and zero-carbon fuel deployments would also save industry up to €12 billion in costs in 2050 to fully decarbonise.

Finally, on the tidal power front, a major milestone has been recorded by Verdant Power’s three-turbine tidal energy array. Namely, the array generated 200MWh of tidal power to the United States electricity grid in its first six months of continuous operation, marking the country’s record for marine energy production. 

The turbines, mounted on Verdant Power’s proprietary TriFrame, performed at over 99% availability, and overall water-to-wire efficiencies reached to over 46%, according to the United States Department of Energy (U.S. DOE).

The array was installed in the East River in New York in October 2020 as part of the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) project.