BP and Iberdrola Partner for Hydrogen, Ammonia and Methanol Production

Energy majors BP and Iberdrola announced plans to form a new joint venture designed to help in the acceleration of decarbonization of transport and industrial sectors. Together, the companies intend to collaborate to develop large-scale green hydrogen production that could be used in the maritime and other industries as well as efforts to significantly expand the fast EV public charging infrastructure to support the adoption of electric vehicles. 

“Creating the lower carbon energy solutions that our customers want and need requires the integration of different technologies, capabilities, and forms of energy,” said Bernard Looney, CEO of BP announcing the plans for the joint venture. “We can deliver this faster and at scale when we work in partnership with others.”

The companies plan to form a joint venture for large-scale integrated green hydrogen production in Spain, Portugal, and the UK, as well as production of derivatives such as green ammonia, and methanol, that could potentially be exported into Northern Europe. Demand, especially for ammonia and methanol, is expected to grow rapidly in the next few years, especially from the maritime sector as both are considered leading candidates to speed the decarbonization of shipping.

Leading carriers including Maersk and CMA CGM have announced plans to build methanol-fueled ships while also expressing concerns that the supply of the fuel will not support the shipping industry’s near-term initiatives. Methanol is especially attractive as the technology exists today to operate ships on the fuel while ammonia-fueled engines continue to be developed.

According to BP and Iberdrola, the strategic collaboration will combine the Spanish energy company’s experience in renewables development and its global customer base. BP has extensive experience in gas processing, trading, and a global customer portfolio.

The companies aim to jointly develop advantaged hydrogen production hubs in Spain, Portugal, and the UK. They are targeting a total capacity of up to 600ktpa, integrated with new renewable power.

The green hydrogen project at BP’s Castellón refinery will be part of the agreement. Iberdrola and BP have also agreed that industrial hydrogen projects under development, as well as new projects, will be part of the agreement. The two companies, together with the Instituto Tecnológico de la Energía, have submitted the Castellón project to the Spanish government's hydrogen value chain PERTE call, while they intend to explore potential future opportunities for green hydrogen production in geographies beyond Spain, Portugal, and the UK.

“With this agreement, we continue advancing in the decarbonization and energy self-sufficiency through the electrification of two key sectors of our economy, transport, and industry,” said Ignacio Galán, chairman of Iberdrola. “The scale of this challenge requires alliances between companies such as Iberdrola and bp, which have the technology and knowledge necessary to help accelerate Europe's industrial development and generate, at the same time, new opportunities for all through clean energy.”

In addition to the initiatives to produce alternative fuels, the companies intend to invest up to €1 billion to roll out a network of up to 11,000 rapid and ultra-fast EV public charge points across Spain and Portugal. The plan includes installing and operating an initial 5,000 fast charge points by 2025, and up to a total of 11,000 by 2030, including bp and Iberdrola’s existing and future fast charging hubs. According to the companies, this will significantly expand access to charging for consumer and fleet customers thus accelerating electric mobility.

BP and Iberdrola aim to finalize both joint venture agreements by the end of 2022, subject to regulatory approvals.


Generators Can Be a Major Source of Methane Slip on LNG Vessels

A team led by researchers at Queen Mary University of London has completed the first ever comprehensive study of methane emissions from an LNG carrier under way, and the findings are unexpected. The largest source of methane escaping from the ship was not from venting cargo, nor from the main engines, but from the generators.

With support from Cheniere Energy and GasLog, a team led by QMUL chemical engineering researcher Dr. Paul Balcombe installed sensors aboard the brand-new LNG carrier GasLog Galveston. They collected data and monitored all potential sources of emissions over the course of a voyage from Corpus Christi to Zeebrugge and back.

The results were surprising. Venting and fugitive emissions from the cargo equipment were negligible, and CO2 emissions were lower than expected - likely due to improvements in engine technology and ship design. However, methane slip was considerable, amounting to 3.8 percent of the LNG fuel burn.

Previous analyses have centered on methane emissions from the main engines, without much consideration to the generator sets, and the data suggests that this may be an oversight. The Galveston's four four-stroke generators were the main source of methane slip on board, and were particularly prone to high emissions at low load.

Over the span of the round-trip voyage, the Galveston emitted about 4,600 tonnes of CO2 and 68 tonnes of methane (0.04 percent of the cargo). The methane releases add up to another 3-6,000 tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions, depending on the time horizon (methane slowly degrades and is most potent early on).

Methane slip from the engines and generators accounted for 99 percent of the methane emissions measured on board. The slip from the low-pressure two-stroke main engines came to a modest two percent, but the generators were releasing about eight percent of their fuel to the atmosphere - and up to 16 percent for the Number Four generator. Though the generators were far smaller than the mains, they were the source of the majority of methane emissions on board.

Slip from the generators varied markedly with load factor, and on this voyage, the crew was operating two generators at a time on 40 percent load. The authors noted that based on the observed data, slip from the generators would be cut in half by running at 80 percent load, if safety and operational requirements allowed.

Notably, the measured methane emissions intensity aboard the Galveston was far higher than that used in a prominent industry-backed study carried out by consultancy Thinkstep in 2019 - resulting in far higher warming potential on a short-term timescale, when methane has the most effect. The Thinkstep study (like all previous studies) omitted a detailed model of generator emissions, and it assumed "negligible methane slip rates" from the ship's engines overall, the authors noted.

"This study is the first-of-a-kind to measure total methane emissions from engines aboard LNG carriers, including venting and fugitive emissions, but we need to do much more to get a representative sample of the approximately 600-strong LNG fleet," said Dr. Balcombe in a statement. "As well as these academic measurement studies, increased monitoring of emissions from engines, vents and fugitives would allow us to identify and implement effective reduction measures as hotspots are found.


Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Completes Conceptual Design of VLGC Enabling Conversion of Main Fuel from LPG to Ammonia

Tokyo, June 9, 2022 – Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., a part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group, has completed the conceptual design of a Very Large Gas Carrier (VLGC) initially powered by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) but adaptable to future use of ammonia as the main fuel(Note1). Approval in Principle (AIP)(Note2) for the design has been acquired from the Japanese classification society ClassNK.

The conceptual design of an LPG-powered VLGC enabling future conversion to ammonia fuel was developed based on Mitsubishi Shipbuilding’s experience and expertise in the construction and delivery of more than 80 very large LPG carriers and multi-purpose gas carriers capable of carrying ammonia. Creation of a design enabling conversion to ammonia fuel in line with future needs is expected to permit relatively small-scale ship retrofitting when use of ammonia fuel becomes a viable option.

Ammonia is expected to come into wide use in the future as a stable and clean source of energy. Because it emits no CO2 when combusted, ammonia is garnering attention as a fuel that will contribute significantly to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the marine industry. Mitsubishi Shipbuilding’s newest VLGCs, in addition to using LPG fuel as an alternative to the conventionally prevalent heavy oil, can also transport ammonia as cargo. As such, the company’s VLGCs are highly suited to using ammonia fuel in the future. In recent years Mitsubishi Shipbuilding has been conducting investigations into the potential use of ammonia fuel in VLGCs as one means of achieving carbon neutrality in the global marine industry by 2050, a target pursued jointly by the public and private sectors in a quest to reduce the industry’s GHG emissions.

As part of the energy transition strategy being promoted by MHI Group, Mitsubishi Shipbuilding has established a growth strategy called “MARINE FUTURE STREAM.” The strategy focuses on two overarching targets: "decarbonization of the maritime economy" through use of renewable energies and carbon recycling, and "safe and secure future for society" through autonomous operation and electrification. The company seeks to achieve these dual goals through creation and application of marine-related innovations. Going forward, as a marine systems integrator Mitsubishi Shipbuilding will continue to promote decarbonization in the marine industry and devote its resources to achieving carbon neutrality, as its way of contributing to reducing environmental loads on a global scale.

Note 1 - This goal conforms with ClassNK’s “Guidelines for Ships Using Alternative Fuels,” which stipulate measures for safety requirements of alternative fuels.

Note 2 - Approval in Principle (AIP) indicates that a certification body has reviewed the basic design of an item and confirmed that it meets technical requirements and relevant safety standards. Inspection of Mitsubishi Shipbuilding’s conceptual design was conducted based on the IGC Code (International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk) and ClassNK’s own ship classification regulations.


Source: Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.


EU announces allocate of €1 billion for the ocean protection at Our Ocean Conference

During the Our Ocean Conference in Palau, the EU renewed its pledges towards international Ocean governance, by presenting a list of 44 commitments for the 2020-2022 period for an amount of almost €1 billion.

The Our Ocean Conference is a key moment for countries across the world, civil society, and industry to commit to concrete and significant actions to protect the ocean. The theme of the 2022 edition is ‘Our Ocean, Our People, Our Prosperity’, and it draws global partners to identify solutions to sustainably manage marine resources, increase the ocean’s resilience to climate change and safeguard its health for generations to come.

“The sum the EU is committing today is significant, but not as significant as the role that the ocean plays for our very existence. It provides us clean air, regulates the climate, hosts a large part of biodiversity on Earth and is key for our economy. The ocean is bringing all these benefits to us and we need to protect it. Our future depends upon it,” said Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius.

At the Our Ocean Conference, the EU has taken commitments covering all the themes of this international event: marine protected areas; tackling marine pollution; confronting the ocean-climate crisis; creating sustainable blue economies; advancing sustainable small-scale fisheries and aquaculture; and achieving a safe, just and secure ocean. The EU has also developed a commitment tracking tool to allow citizens to follow the progress of the implementation of the commitments.

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First LNG Dual-Fuel VLCC Starts Sea Trials in China

The first LNG dual-fuel VLCC completed construction and has begun sea trials before its entry into service. Built in China at the China State Shipbuilding Company’s Dalian Shipbuilding Industry yard, the vessel meets next generation safety and environmental regulations and is part of the increasing effort by shipowners to seed the adoption of LNG to meet near-term environmental regulations.

According to DSIC, the vessel incorporates several design enhancements to increase its efficiency and safety. The 318,000 dwt tanker was ordered in 2017 as a conventional VLCC, but a year ago COSCO amended the order to convert the vessel to LNG as its main fuel, supplemented by oil. The ship has a total length of about 1,091 feet, a molded width of 197 feet, a molded depth of 100 feet, a design draft of 67 feet, and a service speed of 15 knots.

The gas system adopts the design of a single unit and a single pipe, which according to DSIC significantly enhances the safety of gas use and enhances the flexibility for the shipowner. The main engine, a WINGD-low pressure, and generator are equipped with LPSCR, helping the vessel to meet the requirements of EEDI PHASE III, and NOx Tier III requirements for nitrogen oxide emission.

The ship adopts a straight bow design, and the stern is also optimized. With a large-size 35-foot diameter propeller, it achieves greater energy efficiency. In gas mode, the ship's endurance can reach 12,000 nautical miles, with a combined endurance for fuel and gas of 24,000 nautical miles. During a typical voyage, the daily gas consumption is about 60 tons of LNG. The daily fuel consumption is about 74 tons, making the design energy efficiency index (EEDI) about is 36 percent lower than the baseline value.

The ship’s LNG storage system adopts a C -type storage tank design, with an LNG filling station on the port and port sides, with a filling rate of 1500 cubic meters per hour. The storage tanks, which are deck mounted in front of the deckhouse, are made of 9Ni steel and provides the vessel with a range to complete one roundtrip voyage to the Middle East and back to Asia.

In 2020, French energy major Total announced that it had signed an agreement to charter its first two LNG-powered VLCCs due to enter service in 2022. The vessels are part of the continuing trend to expand the use of LNG into more sectors of shipping. DNV recently indicated that approximately 12 percent of the global order book uses alternative fuel with LNG being the favored option for large, ocean-going vessels. DNV’s data says that there are currently approximately 220 LNG-fueled vessels in operation worldwide, with another 354 on order.



EMSA has awarded a framework contract to RINA designed to expand LNG bunkering and storage

In an effort to expand the supply of LNG at regional ports in the Mediterranean, Black, and Caspian seas, the European Maritime Safety Agency has awarded a framework contract to the classification society RINA designed to expand LNG bunkering and storage. The project is aimed at reducing environmental impact by making LNG more widely available for a variety of uses including ferries, cruise ships, and tourist activities, as well as promoting the LNG road supply chain.

According to EMSA and RINA, having a common methodology and framework will give nations, where there is a gap in LNG infrastructure, access to a high standard of qualified guidance, regulatory compliance, and safety. Increasing the number of ports with LNG refueling capability will help support the wider adoption of LNG as a maritime fuel and to meet MARPOL regulations.

“LNG is an important fuel on our way to decarbonization,” said Angelo Lo Nigro, Energy Engineering Solutions Senior Director at RINA. “The services we will be providing as part of the framework agreement with EMSA will help make LNG storage and bunkering available in port areas and will also bring consistency and guidance for economically developing nations that do not yet have strong experience with small scale LNG.”

RINA will provide a flexible selection of services dealing with safety and feasibility to match the needs in different locations. The services provided will help port authorities determine which locations are feasible, both in terms of safety and technical and financial viability, to install small-scale LNG bunkering or depot facilities. RINA will provide a total of eight different services, from which each port authority can choose according to its goals. The activities include gap analysis of regulatory frame and evaluation of applicable standards, feasibility study, definition of risk acceptance criteria, site analysis, nautical analysis, hazard identification, quantitative risk assessment, and ship collision risk study.

“This contract will reduce the capacity gap between countries and ensure a coherent, effective, and uniform implementation of the international rules for maritime safety, security, and prevention of pollution from ships in the Mediterranean, Black, and Caspian seas,” explained Lo Nigro.

The framework contract will run for four years and currently covers 22 countries in the region. EMSA may also add other countries during the period of the agreement.


Source: www.maritime-executive.com

Liquid Organic Hydrogen Could Facilitate Hydrogen as Propulsion Fuel

A new Norwegian-German partnership is proposing a solution for zero-emission shipping based on liquid organic hydrogen carrier which they believe can revolutionize the use of hydrogen as a marine fuel. According to the partnership, the new process addresses the concerns of safety as it is neither inflammable nor explosive while providing a means of storing and transporting hydrogen for use in propulsion.

Hydrogenious LOHC Maritime AS is a joint venture between Johannes Østensjø dy AS, which operates offshore vessels, and Hydrogenious LOHC Technologies GmbH, a German company that has developed and patented a technology for loading hydrogen in a thermal oil as well as releasing it where and when it’s needed. They will work to commercialize the organic oil loaded with hydrogen as a liquid organic hydrogen carrier (LOHC). The company is aiming to have a megawatt-scale commercial product ready by 2025 and the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment will be providing nearly $3 million through its Enova project to fund the development of the hydrogen oil.

“Of all the potential zero-emission technologies, we find LOHC the most promising one. That is why we have prepared all six service operation vessels under construction in our subsidiary, Edda Wind, for LOHC-based propulsion,” said Håvard Framnes, Investment Director in Østensjø. “Safety is of course very important for us in these evaluations. However, the fact that we can use existing fuel infrastructure and are able to use familiar fueling procedures is of importance. In addition, we can easily carry enough energy onboard our vessels in order to operate in normal intervals of up to four weeks without refueling.”

By binding the hydrogen to the LOHC, the partners said they are creating a safe and low-cost technology. An important challenge for using hydrogen in shipping is safety. They believe that LOHC solves this and provides a safe, easy, and efficient way of storing and transporting hydrogen.

They believe that this technology will revolutionize the supply chain for hydrogen, as LOHC can be used to store and transport large quantities of hydrogen under ambient conditions, using the already existing fossil fuel infrastructure. The carrier oil – Benzyltoluene – can be loaded and unloaded with hydrogen many hundreds of times and is recyclable. The energy density of LOHC is also favorable, as a vessel can store two to three times more energy compared to compressed hydrogen.

“Our technology is very suitable for maritime use,” says Dr. Daniel Teichmann, CEO and founder of Hydrogenious LOHC Technologies. He believes it will be optimal to first apply the technology to the shipping industry. “Hydrogenious LOHC Maritime AS will make our proprietary LOHC technology available for onboard solutions for sustainable maritime traffic.”

The planned application will integrate three core components on-board: The LOHC Release Unit, which releases hydrogen from the liquid organic carrier Benzyltoluene on demand on the ship, as well as a fuel cell and an interface to the ship’s power management system.

Enova SF has agreed to fund the development of a 200 kW pilot of the LOHC/fuel cell propulsion system with a grant of approximately $3 million.

Source: www.maritime-executive.com

Northern European Ports Target Shore Power for Large Containerships

Faced with growing calls to improve the environment around major ports and with pending EU regulatory actions requiring ships to reduce emissions while in port, five of Northern Europe’s largest port authorities announced a joint effort focusing on increasing the use of onshore power supply for ships at berth. While the use of cold ironing has been increasing for some segments, such as passenger ships, harbor crafts, and inland vessels, the new memorandum of understanding among the ports focuses on expanding the use of shore power for large container ships. The ports are agreeing to equip all their container terminals for shore power by 2028.

The ports of Antwerp, Bremerhaven, Hamburg, Haropa Port, and Rotterdam decided to examine what they can undertake to create further progress and increase the efforts already underway at a regional, national, and international level. The five port authorities are calling for a coordinated approach to reduce capex costs through innovation and to provide clarity that will stimulate the shipping sector to equip vessels and make it possible for vessels to use shore power in multiple ports. Working together they plan to create a level playing field for the use of shore power in their respective ports.

“With the joint declaration of the major European container ports on the North Range, we are getting a little closer to zero-emission shipping in line with our greenports strategy,” said Robert Howe, CEO Bremerhaven. “To invest in emission-free drives that have an impact both at sea and in ports is the best solution to address the emissions contributing to climate change. Together with Haropa Port, Antwerp, Rotterdam, and Hamburg, we are sending, therefore, an important signal for fair competition, for clean shipping and clean supply chains, for maritime climate protection.”

The ports acknowledged that onshore power cannot be the solution for all berths, vessel types, and sizes of vessel, but they believe that significant steps forward can be taken in the ultra-large containership segment. They highlighted a strong business case for retrofitting or equipping large container ships for shore power and point to the level of readiness among these vessels to use cold ironing. They also said the call frequency of containerships at the terminals, the average berth duration, and the high-power demand of these ships create the case to focus on this segment.

Considering the size and energy demand of ships, the deployment of onshore power however will require large investments with technological challenges to be overcome the ports noted. These mainly relate to frequency conversion, grid connections, and flexibility needs, which, together with a lack of public funding, the uncertainty regarding the use of the installation, and the price difference between bunker fuels and electricity, constitute just a few of the many hurdles that are currently delaying the uptake of this technology.

“We call upon policymakers, private and public stakeholders to join our initiative and put in place the right framework to enable a step forward in the deployment of OPS to the benefit of emission reductions in our ports and the further greening of the shipping sector,” said Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO Port of Antwerp.

Several of the ports noted that they already have multiple efforts underway for shore power. Rotterdam, for example, has already realized several shore power projects and is planning to execute ten more, bigger scale projects in the next few years and then to scale up based on the experience gained. Haropa Port also has ongoing projects for the maritime cruise terminal in Le Havre and along the Seine from Paris to Le Havre for inland cruise and inland freight vessels sailing through Rouen.


Source: www.maritime-executive.com

Containership Orders Reach High with Focus on ULCS

Construction orders for new containerships are at a high, setting new records in March and highlighting the confidence of the shipping industry. The industry trade group BIMCO is highlighting the order book as its “number of the week.”

BIMCO reports that in March, orders for 45 Ultra-large containerships (15,000 and above TEU capacity) were placed, breaking a record. In addition, they report that an additional 27 orders for smaller sized ships were placed in the same month, bringing the total to 866,060 TEU on order worldwide. BIMCO’s Chief Shipping Analyst Peter Sand believes this indicates a turnaround for the container shipping sector.

The turnaround for the container shipping sector offers a glimpse of the level of confidence currently seen in the business on behalf of owners as well as investors says BIMCO. For all of 2020, a total of 995,000 TEU of container shipping capacity was ordered. Capacity ordered in the first quarter of 2021 has already reached 1,398,000 TEU, a six-year-high compared to previous full years.

“The industry is keen on benefitting from the economies of scale that ultra-large containerships have to offer if you carry payloads close to its cargo carrying capacity,” says Sand.

“The mammoth size of some containerships was questioned many times during the recent six days of the Suez Canal blockage, as some saw it as an omen of ships becoming too large, compromising supply chain reliability, navigational excellence, and safety,” Sand says. “But as I said at the time, you should not expect much change on that account, as Ultra-Large containerships are the preferred choice of ‘weapon’ in the arms race of the container shipping industry seeking to improve long-term profitability.”

He, however, is also highlighting an interesting anomaly in the market bucking the trend where people believe that the lines would be solely investing in the largest vessels. Sand points out in October and December 2020, orders placed were almost exclusively for ships with a maximum capacity of 23,000 to 24,000 TEU, with only four out of 23 orders for ULCS below that range. Included in this were the competing orders from ONE and Hapag who each reported they had ordered the world’s largest containerships. ONE said it would order six vessels with a capacity greater than 24,000 TEU just days after Hapag said it would order six vessels with a capacity of 23,500 TEU.

Sand highlights that while there has been a significant number of construction orders in 2021 for containerships, the lines are mostly been investing in which is emerging as the mid-sized boxship. According to BIMCO, so far in 2021, only four out of 81 orders for ships with a capacity of at least 11,800 TEU were for ships larger than 15,500 TEU. Seaspan, for example, which has ordered a total of 37 containerships, has 35 of them in the range between 12,000 and 15,500 TEU and only two Ultra-Large 24,000 TEU vessels.

Sources: BIMCO and The Maritime Executive