LR green lights Rotoboost’s pre-combustion carbon capture system

Lloyd’s Register (LR) has awarded Approval in Principle (AiP) to Rotoboost, a Nordic hydrogen production company, for its pre-combustion Carbon Capture System (CCS) Rotobox.

Image credit: Lloyd's Register

Rotobox uses thermocatalytic decomposition process (TCD) onboard marine vessels, where part of the natural gas fuel supply is converted into hydrogen and graphite with a liquid catalyst. 

 The resulting gas can be used for fuel cells or as a blend-in fuel for combustion engines or gas-fired boilers. The process can reduce overall carbon emissions by up to 100 percent depending on the heating method, according to its developer.

The TCD process significantly reduces CO2 emissions, particulate matter and methane slip by producing hydrogen while capturing carbon in its solid form. The technology has been described as a first-of-its-kind.

Rotoboost’s solution is scalable to meet future emission regulations, with lower electrical power requirements compared to conventional carbon capture systems and less storage space needed for solid carbon, allowing the system and associated storage to remain compact even for long voyages, LR said.

The system is well suited to LNG carriers and other LNG-fuelled vessels, offering an additional option for shipowners for decarbonising.

The AiP validates Rotoboost’s CCS system as compliant with LR’s goal-based and comprehensive prescriptive requirements, marking a further milestone in the development of carbon capture technology.

The verification comes on the back of the technology qualification designation Rotoboost secured from the ABS classification society back in November 2022.

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“I believe that the decarbonisation of shipping starts now, and we need to find solutions that reduce emissions today. Therefore, I am pleased to award the Approval in Principle to Rotoboost for their innovative carbon capture system,Andy McKeran, Lloyd’s Register Chief Commercial Officer said.

“Solving the methane emissions perception in the industry, through technology and evidence enables LNG to become a future fuel that is readily available today, subject to affordability – which ranks higher than any other alleged lower emissions fuel available today.”

Kaisa Nikulainen, Rotoboost Chief Executive Officer, said the system offers the shipping industry a novel approach to tackle emissions without compromising cargo efficiency and overall economy.

“Our technology introduces a new perspective on fossil fuels, demonstrating how they can be equally green when used innovatively. In addition to hydrogen as a green blend-in fuel, our byproduct, pyrolytic graphite, is also an excellent battery-grade anode material for electric cars and green steel production. This circular economy creates a powerful tool to combat global warming and climate change on both land and sea,” she explained.

The technology can also be used for cost-effective production of green methanol and ammonia in land-based facilities, paving way for affordable fuel options to the shipping industry.

Onboard carbon capture is receiving a lot of attention at the moment due to its potential to serve as a bridging solution for vessels that exhaust energy efficiency initiatives but are yet unable to switch to alternative fuels amid limited availability or other challenges.

Various companies are looking into the technology, however, there are numerous barriers for ships using OCC including inadequate port reception infrastructure, low efficiency of the technology as well as its size, and high energy consumption. The regulatory framework is not in place either as type approvals, safety requirements for ships using OCSS as well as EEDI, EEXI and CII calculations for ships using OCCS are yet to be defined.