Carbon capture and Storage (CCS)
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology has been pursued by many industries for decades as a means to reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Having been used to capture 40 million tons of CO2 in 2021 – notably from offshore industrial projects – it is now becoming a viable onboard technology to reduce CO2 emissions from shipping.
What is carbon capture and storage?
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the process by which CO2 is extracted from emissions from industrial processes and permanently stored. Rather than mitigating or reducing emissions by using low-carbon fuels, CCS is a means to prevent emissions from ever reaching the atmosphere.
What are the advantages of onboard carbon capture and storage?
Foremost among the benefits of onboard CCS technology as a carbon-reducing solution is its current availability. Often, when we talk about low- and zero-carbon fuels, we are talking about changes that will take effect in years to come. But CCS solutions are already available in onshore projects, and solutions for commercial vessels are in testing phases – soon to be ready for integration onboard.
CCS is also a highly efficient means of trapping CO2. The immediacy of the reduction it offers shows clear benefits when compared to solutions such as carbon offsetting. Rather than action on emissions that have already occurred, CCS prevents CO2 from ever reaching the atmosphere.
In 2020, the International Energy Agency (IEA) counted carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) as an indispensable technology to support the global energy transition. This assessment applied to all sectors of the world economy, but there is no doubt that CCS can help shipping along its decarbonization journey.
Supporting innovative onboard carbon capture and storage technology
Approvals in principal and joint industry projects
Our Approvals in Principal (AiP) are given to viable technologies, while our participation in Joint Development Projects (JDP) helps support the safe development of new CCS technology. We have recently partnered with Wah Kwong and Qiyao Environmental Technology in a feasibility study for the installation of CCS units onboard two in-service ships, and participated in the installation of a prototype onboard a BV classed vessel.
Guiding safe onboard CCS installation
Our experts support the de-risking of CCS equipment, working closely with shipyards and equipment manufacturers. Our services include:
- Yard safety assessments for vessel redesign
- Equipment, material and exhaust treatment system certification
- Advice on potential risks, based on our knowledge of onboard gas handling
Gas Expertise Team Director
Bureau Veritas M&O
CCUS is able to aid the marine industry’s short- and long-term decarbonization, it only remains to be seen how effective it will be. With many pilot projects now finetuning the technology, onboard CCS and even CCUS could be a crucial part of the decarbonization puzzle for many owners.
Longstanding gas handling expertise informs our CCS offer
As a classification society, Bureau Veritas helps the maritime industry to take each new step forward in safety. While the risks of CO2 transportation are relatively low – and similar to those of LPG – safety must stay top of mind. Our long experience of gas carriers of all types is helping ensure the safe development of onboard CCS technology.
Additionally, we are assisting shipping in playing its part in CCUS and CCS projects to support other industries. Applying our knowledge of gas carriers, we have classed one of the four Liquified CO2 (LOC2) carriers currently operating, as well as awarding AiPs for LCO2 tank designs.
What is the difference between CCS and CCU?
The key difference between carbon capture and storage (CCS) and carbon capture and utilization (CCU) is what happens to the CO2 once captured.
The technology for capturing CO2 is the same, but under CCS it is stored and transported to a final sequestration location where it will remain, unable to reach the atmosphere. Sequestration points are normally deep underground or under the sea in geological formations.
CCU sees captured CO2 recycled for other uses, such as mineralization for concrete manufacturing, or as a feedstock for microalgae in biofuel production.
Can onboard CCS help my vessel comply with IMO CII and EEXI?
Can onboard CCS help my vessel comply with EU ETS?
Installing onboard CCS technology will help ships to comply with the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). This makes it an option worth considering for vessels operating in EU waters, or making frequent calls at EU ports.
Is installing onboard carbon capture and storage equipment complicated?
Onboard CCS equipment is similar to an engine scrubber system. It is a relatively simple installation that will not require major overhaul, redesign or engine replacements. Ships that use CCS systems will have to be able to accommodate additional onboard storage for captured CO2 until it can be offloaded for re-use or permanent sequestration.
Is onboard CCS suitable for all vessel types?
Most vessels will find that CCS is a viable option, particularly for large cargo and long-range vessels that will find it easier to accommodate extra storage tanks.
Is onboard CCS a cost-effective decarbonization solution?
Yes. Onboard CCS is one of the most cost-effective immediate solutions available to shipowners today. Exact cost comparisons are of course complicated, and will vary from vessel to vessel, but beyond initial CAPEX expenditure, the OPEX of a CCS system is relatively low.
Is the supporting onshore infrastructure for onboard carbon capture and storage ready?
As CCS or CCUS technology is used by other onshore industries, several methods for the long-term storage or reuse of captured CO2 already exist – though at limited scale – and more are being explored and tested. However, port infrastructure for the offloading of CO2 from ships will need to be scaled up if this technology becomes widespread in the maritime industry.