Feb 23, 2023 | Marine fuel & lubricant news

Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) and Japanese company Air Water have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly study the trial use of liquefied bio-methane (LBM) derived from cattle manure, in LNG fuelled vessels.

This joint study will be conducted as part of an LBM technology research and development program approved by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment and promoted by Air Water. LBM is produced from cattle manure in the Tokachi region of Hokkaido by Air Water. The two companies will confirm that LBM can be transported, supplied, and used without problems using existing shore and onboard equipment. The goal is to use LBM on an MOL Group coastal LNG-fuelled vessel in the first half of 2023. This will be the first use of LBM as marine fuel in Japan.

MOL is moving toward decarbonisation to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and shifting to greener alternative fuels such as ammonia and hydrogen. The company sees LNG fuelled vessels as an effective way to achieve low carbon emissions in the earlier stage of the energy transition, so is accelerating the deployment of LNG-fuelled vessels while taking initiatives aimed at early introduction of the use of bio-methane and synthetic-methane.

LNG fuel is expected to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by about 25% compared to conventional fuel oil, but further reduction of CO2 emissions can be expected through the partial use of LBM, a carbon-neutral energy source. In addition, because the main component of both LBM and LNG is methane, the current LNG supply chains can be used, so LBM can be an effective solution to achieve low-carbon and decarbonized ship operations.

Air Water is committed to creating decarbonisation solutions and sustainable energy supply models. In October 2022, the company started operation of the first plant in Japan to produce LBM, an alternative fuel to LNG that effectively uses unused biogas produced from cattle manure. MOL and Air Water will contribute to the development of low-carbon and decarbonised ocean transport by leveraging each other’s knowledge and experiences in the use of LBM as marine fuel.

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