Methane slip reduction project underway

By Jack Burke27 October 2021

Goal is 70% reduction for LNG-fueled vessels over six years

A project to develop methane slip reduction technologies for LNG-fueled vessels was approved by Japan’s Green Innovation Fund.

Hitachi Zosen, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) and Yanmar Power Technology proposed the project, “Development of Methane Slip Reduction Technology from LNG Fueled Vessels by Improving Catalysts and Engines” with Hitachi Zosen as the managing company. Hitachi Zosen has been supplying NOx removal catalysts and NOx removal systems to domestic and overseas applications for over 50 years.

According to the companies, environmental awareness, including responses to climate change, has been increasing worldwide. Against this backdrop, the shipping industry is also working on various technological and business developments to realize a low-carbon society. One of these efforts is the introduction in various parts of the world of LNG-fueled ships, which have a low environmental impact. LNG fuel has the effect of reducing CO2emissions, but engines using LNG can be prone to the problem of methane slip, where unburned fuel is expelled in the exhaust. Reducing methane slip is a pressing issue in engine design, the companies said.

A methane slip reduction system will be installed in a coal carrier built at the Namura Shipbuilding and operated by MOL for demonstration of the methane slip reduction technology.

In this project, the partners aim to achieve a methane slip reduction rate of more than 70% for LNG-fueled vessels over a six-year period from 2021 to 2026. The reduction will be achieved by combining methane oxidation catalysts and engine improvements thereby further reducing the environmental impact of LNG-fueled vessels. YPT will also commission Namura Shipbuilding Co., together with Hitachi Zosen and MOL to establish the technology to install the system developed in this research on actual ships.

The system will be installed in a coal carrier built at the Namura Shipbuilding and operated by MOL for demonstration of the methane slip reduction technology. The partners will work to establish the technology as soon as possible with a view to utilizing carbon-recycled methane in future applications, reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 towards realizing a carbon-neutral society.

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