Japanese majors to develop next-gen eco-friendly VLCC, set to cut GHG emissions by 40%

Japanese maritime leaders Idemitsu Tanker Co., Iino Kaiun Kaisha, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK), and Nippon Shipyard Co. have joined forces to create a consortium to design and build a low-emission Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC).

The consortium is targeting up to 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for the Malacca Max-type VLCC when compared to conventional tankers.

With over 90% of Japan’s crude oil imports relying on the Middle East, VLCCs are indispensable for the nation’s economic activities. Recognizing the crucial role of these tankers in the transportation of crude oil, the shipping industry is actively exploring ways to minimize greenhouse gas emissions.

This includes contemplating the transition from conventional heavy oil to next-generation fuels and the potential integration of environmental technologies such as carbon dioxide (CO2) capture devices and wind-assisted propulsion.

The consortium has released a design rendering of the VLCC featuring four rotor sails.

eco friendly VLCC
Image credit: Idemitsu

Leveraging their expertise in various fields, the four companies plan to collaboratively verify and select the most effective next-generation fuels and environmentally friendly equipment. The focus extends to the construction and operation of VLCCs, the ultimate goal being to create a sustainable and eco-friendly shipping model.

Japanese media reported that the companies aim to finalize the design concept, and environmentally friendly equipment by the end of 2024. The companies aim to have the vessel built between 2027 and 2030.