CO2 sets sail: Carbon shipping on the rise as emitters search for large-scale storage options

As the global carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) market expands, a significant hurdle in the value chain is the lack of available transportation and storage networks for projects. Onshore pipelines are the most common mode currently, with 330 expected to be operational by 2030. These pipelines are ideal for transporting large quantities of CO2 to onshore storage sites or coastal terminals. 

Yet, the shipping industry relies on emissions-heavy conventional fuels like maritime diesel or low-sulfur fuel oil (LSFO), calling into question the environmental impact of the process. The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over shorter distances may be relatively low, but the impact multiplies quickly over longer journeys. Based on our research of CO2 shipping routes that could come online in 2030, ships traveling long distances could emit as much as 5% of the total CO2 shipped. Switching to LNG as the shipping fuel could cut emissions by 18%, while blue-methanol would result in a 20% drop. The real reduction would come with the use of blue-ammonia, which would slash the emissions impact of the shipping process by up to 80%.

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