MOL, Tata Steel to develop eco-friendly bulk carrier

Japanese shipping heavyweight Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Indian steel major Tata Steel to develop and deploy an eco-friendly bulk carrier.

The objective of the partnership is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the ocean transportation of raw materials for the production of steel.

Furthermore, the partners will explore the environmental benefits and commercial and operational feasibilities of various technologies including the “Wind Challenger”.

The Wind Challenger is cargo ship design with a hard sail, which would reduce emissions by harnessing wind energy. Plans to develop the Wind Challenger started in 2009 as an industry-academia joint research project led by the University of Tokyo.

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MOL took charge of the plan in 2018 and has been working on the technology since.

This wind propulsion system is expected to achieve a 5% to 8% reduction in GHG emissions by reducing bunker oil consumption through the use of a telescoping hard sail that converts wind energy to propulsive force.

MOL has already placed an order with Oshima Shipbuilding for the construction of the first vessel to be equipped with the Wind Challenger slated to start operation in 2022.

“We have recently established MOL Group Environmental Vision 2.1, where we announced that MOL Group will make a concerted effort throughout the Group to achieve net-zero GHG emissions by 2050,” Toshiaki Tanaka, Senior Managing Executive Officer and Chief Environment and Sustainability Officer of MOL, said.

“Including this opportunity, we will pursue “Adoption of Clean Alternative Fuels” and “Enhancement of Energy-Saving Technologies” more in the five initiatives to achieve the goal.”

The company has set sights on reducing GHG emissions intensity by approximately 45% by 2035 when compared to 2019 levels.

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Furthermore, MOL plans to invest approximately ¥200 billion ($ 1.81 billion) in low carbon/decarbonization fields over three years from 2021 to 2023 fiscal year.

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