Mitsubishi Shipbuilding breaks ground on LCO2 demonstration ship

Keel laying ceremony; Image by MHI

The Shimonoseki Shipyard of Japan’s Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Corporation hosted today a keel laying ceremony for the hull of the demonstration test ship for liquefied CO2 transportation.

The project was announced by the shipyard in February this year following a contract signing with compatriot shipping company Sanyu Kisen, the owner of the vessel.

Although ships to carry LCO2 used in the food industry have previously been constructed and operated in Europe and Japan, this newbuild is expected to be the world’s first LCO2 carrier intended specifically for carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), according to Mitsubishi.

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The hull of demonstration test ship will be equipped with the liquefied CO2 tank system, researched and developed by Engineering Advancement Association of Japan (ENAA).

After the completion, ENAA will charter the ship from Sanyu Kisen, and install and operate the LCO2 marine tank system used to conduct research and development.

The demonstration test ship will be engaged in liquefied CO2 transportation for the purpose of several demonstration projects which have been conducted by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) since June 2021.

These include CCUS R&D and Demonstration Related Project, a Large-scale CCUS Demonstration in Tomakomai, Demonstration Project on CO2 Transportation, as well as R&D and Demonstration Project for CO2 Marine Transportation.

Image credit MHI

“CCUS is gaining attention as an effective means of achieving a carbon-neutral society. Because the sources of CO2 emissions are often located distant from the sites selected for carbon utilization or storage, demand is expected to increase for LCO2 carriers able to transport such cargo safely and economically. Mitsubishi Shipbuilding will draw on its experience constructing this vessel to bolster its business for MHI Group’s energy transition strategy, and will develop the various technologies for LCO2 vessels necessary to establish a CCUS value chain,” MHI said,

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Three additional project partners, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (“K” LINE), Nippon Gas Line (NGL), and Ochanomizu University, will be commissioned by ENAA to conduct R&D on the pressure control and stability of the LCO2 transported on the ship, and plan demonstration experiments, as well as develop and demonstrate technologies for safe and low-cost CO2 transport.

ENAA will continue to be responsible for the planning, analysis, and supervision of demonstration tests.

“K” Line has been entrusted with a risk assessment of the demonstration test ship for the safety evaluation this year and will contribute to the development of an operation manual for the demonstration vessels.

NGL is proceeding with planning for the management and operation of the demonstration vessel. In addition, the company is conducting a case study on its own LPG vessel in preparation for data measurement of CO2 temperature, pressure, flow, etc. on the demonstration vessel.

Finally, Ochanomizu University is conducting fundamental research on the control of carbon dioxide state (phase change) and will provide the information necessary for safe transportation studies

Conceptual image of the LCO2 demonstration test ship; Image by MHI

Vessel Overview

  • Registration Japan
  • Length overall 72.0 m
  • Beam 12.5 m
  • Draft 4.55 m
  • Tank capacity 1,450 m³

Following the launch, outfitting, and sea trials, the ship is scheduled to be handed over in the latter half of fiscal 2023 as an LCO2 carrier to facilitate CCUS.