Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line), a prominent Japanese shipping company, and Northern Lights JV DA have entered into bareboat and time charter contracts for two 7,500 m3 liquefied CO2 ships that are now being built in China.
Northern Lights, a joint venture between energy giants Shell, Equinor, and TotalEnergies, China's Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co. (DSIC), began constructing the two LNG-powered, wind-assisted CO2 carriers in November 2022.
The ships, expected to be delivered in 2024, will be used to transport liquefied and captured CO2 from European emitters, such as the Norcem Brevik and Hafslund Oslo Celsio carbon capture facilities, to the Northern Lights receiving terminal in Øygarden, western Norway.
The gathered CO2 would be delivered by pipeline from the terminal to a geological reservoir 2,600 meters below the ocean's surface for long-term storage. The facilities are currently being built, and operations are anticipated to begin in 2024.
With the goal of increasing to more than five million tons per year in the second phase of development, they will be able to store up to 1.5 million tons of CO2 annually permanently.
The endeavor has been dubbed the first full-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) value chain in the planet's history.
Once delivered, the ships will be classed by DNV, registered in Norway, and operated by primarily Norwegian crewmembers under the Norwegian (NOR) flag.
The ships will run primarily on LNG and be fitted with air lubrication technology and wind-assisted propulsion systems, which are expected to lower carbon intensity by about 34% compared to traditional systems.
Additionally, the units will include shaft generator systems from ABB.
The two ships carrying liquefied carbon dioxide will be managed by K Line's London-based company K LINE LNG Shipping (UK) Ltd., per the most recent agreements.
CO2 transport is seen as a crucial component in linking industrial emitters in Europe to acceptable CO2 storage facilities. Moreover, shipping is a scalable CO2 transfer option that works well for European ocean voyages.
According to Northern Lights, creating a flexible shipping option as a component of the first cross-border CO2 transport and storage network will help create a market for CO2 storage.
The company noted that more shipping and storage capacity would be constructed as demand rises due to increased interest from European industrial sectors.
K Line and Northern Lights intend to collaborate to create operational guidelines to secure the shipment of liquefied CO2.