Seabound taps Crestchic Loadbanks to help test its carbon capture prototype
Startup climate-tech company Seabound has teamed up with Crestchic Loadbanks, a specialist in the provision of load bank testing equipment, to test Seabound’s carbon capture prototype.
London-based Seabound has developed a unique carbon capture device that traps and stores CO2 from fuel exhaust with the aim of cutting emissions from ships. According to the company, its technology can capture up to 95% of CO2 emissions per ship.
The technology uses the ‘lime-based’ approach to cut carbon and routes the exhaust into a container that is filled with calcium oxide pebbles that absorb CO2 to form calcium carbonate, also known as limestone.
The CO2 can then be brought to the port where it can be sold for utilisation or sequestration. The start-up believes that together with enabling the industry to meet stringent environmental targets, the revenue stream made from selling the captured CO2 could be shared with the ship owner, helping to cover implementation costs.
Carbon capture technology is gaining a lot of attention as the shipping sector comes to grips with its decarbonization targets.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has mandated that starting in 2023, most commercial vessels will have to document their CO2 emissions and demonstrate progress towards reaching the objective of an industry-wide 40% reduction in emissions by 2030. However, if the IMO pushes forward with the adoption of an even stricter 2050 target, potentially a net zero by 2050, the sector would have to accelerate its efforts even further to meet the new regulations.
Decarbonising the current global fleet of approximately 100,000 ships is a mammoth task – estimated at $1 trillion – consisting of investment in energy-efficient ships as well as a complete overhaul of the industry’s fuel supply chain.
At the moment, the maritime industry, which is highly dependent on fossil fuels, is looking into various zero-emissions fuels and technologies, including batteries, sustainable biofuels, and green or blue hydrogen and their derivatives such as ammonia and methanol. Nevertheless, for many, there is a long way to go before becoming commercially viable and available at scale.
Therefore, onboard carbon capture has emerged as a bridging solution for vessels that exhaust the potential of energy efficiency initiatives but are yet unable to switch to alternative fuels amid limited availability or other challenges.
“Building new ships is extremely capital intensive, and the production of sustainable fuels at scale is 10-20 years away. Carbon capture can help to decarbonize shipping quickly and at scale, and it can be retrofitted onto existing ships,” Walker Kehoe, Founding Engineer at Seabound, explained.
To test its carbon capture technology on dry land, Seabound needed to create and capture CO2. To do this without the need for a marine engine, they hooked the technology up to a diesel generator. A load bank, supplied by Crestchic Loadbanks, was used to apply a full load to the generator – in turn allowing the generator to run at full capacity and fully test the carbon capture technology.
Load banks work by applying an electrical load to a generator, allowing it to run as it would in normal operational conditions. By using the generator and loadbank combination, the team at Seabound was able to simulate a marine engine – enabling full testing of its carbon capture technology.
“Testing our prototype was a critical step in getting the technology launched – leading to expressions of interest from some major shipowners. Our development and testing process has established that Seabound can capture up to 95% of CO2 emissions per ship – helping the industry move towards its targets,” said Kehoe.
The company has so far built two land-based prototypes that have been used for testing, and it plans to launch ship-board testing of its device this year. When it comes to mid-term goals, Seabound has set pretty ambitious targets of installing 1,000 devices on ships by 2030 and 10,000 devices by 2040.
Seabound won backing from the Singapore-based Eastern Pacific in February 2022 as part of a wider program aimed at accelerating the development of green and digital technology startups. EPS has invested in an additional seven startups through its partnership with Techstars and another two startups outside of the program.
The start-up company has signed six Letters of Interest with major ship owners interested in the technology. The company is cofounded and headed by Alisha Fredriksson, who helped get the Swedish green electrofuel development company Liquid Wind off the ground.
The company is targeting the dry-bulk sector with its technology to de-risk the investment, as bulk carriers have the necessary infrastructure to handle dry bulk solids which are created during the carbon capture process. Adequate port infrastructure for handling captured C02 is one of the key barriers hindering the uptake of onboard carbon capture technology at the moment.
The start-up plans to move to other sectors as well including container shipping.