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Alfa Laval and Japan’s National Maritime Research Institute (NMRI) say they have succeeded in onboard CO2 capture testing using the former’s PureSOx exhaust gas cleaning system.

Initiated by NMRI, the CO2 capture testing project was designed to provide real-world validation of results achieved in the lab.

The unnamed Japanese shipowner associated with the research, who had installed PureSOx for SOx compliance on a newbuild, arranged with Alfa Laval and the shipyard to include the testing in the vessel’s sea trials.

‘Alfa Laval PureSOx is a proven solution with a long track record in SOx abatement,’ said René Diks, Head of Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems at Alfa Laval. ‘The positive results from our project with NMRI Japan show that scrubber technology could also play a role in removing carbon at sea.’

CCS is seen as a potential bridge technology, offering the possibility to extract carbon from emissions until carbon-neutral fuels become more viable. In a full CCS solution, carbon removed from a vessel’s exhaust gas would be stored away to prevent it from ever entering the atmosphere.

According to Alfa Laval, for the test project, the scope was limited to showing that a scrubber could perform the CO2 capture on board - and the modified PureSOx system was able to absorb CO2 from the auxiliary diesel engines in port, while operating in closed loop.

‘Both short-term and long-term solutions will be needed to achieve IMO Greenhouse gas emission reduction targets,’ added Diks. ‘Much development is needed before CCS can be deployed at sea, but this preliminary testing showed clear potential in the approach. Though designed to remove SOx, PureSOx demonstrated its ability to remove CO2 while operating in closed loop.’

As previously reported, Alfa Laval is not the only manufacturer examining the potential for CCS technology with scrubbers. In an interview with Bunkerspot earlier this year, Sigurd Jenssen, Director, Exhaust Gas Cleaning, Wärtsilä, suggested that: ‘I think there are lots of benefits of scrubbers beyond the removal of sulphur. We also remove a lot of the particles. The way we see it, it’s a stepping stone and it has lots of potential.’

In March, Wärtsilä said that initial findings from extensive research and development had shown that CCS on ships is ‘technically viable’ for the sector to pursue.

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