Australian mining group BHP has partnered with Pan Pacific Copper (PPC), a member of JX Nippon Mining and Metals group, and provider of auxiliary wind propulsion systems Norsepower, in a project to reduce GHG emissions from maritime transportation between BHP’s mines in Chile and PPC’s smelters in Japan.
The parties are conducting a technical assessment and plan a retrofit installation of wind-assisted propulsion system onboard the Koryu, a combination carrier operated by Nippon Marine – a member of SENKO group (shares held by SENKO 60%, JX Nippon Mining & Metals 40%). BHP and PPC have multi-year agreements for delivery of copper concentrates from Chile to Japan as well as sulphuric acid from Japan to Chile, making the cargo capacity utilisation of the 53,762 dwt Koryu one of the highest in the industry.
Norsepower’s Rotor Sails installation – described as a “push-button wind propulsion” system and estimated to be around 10 times more efficient than a conventional sail that requires no reefing or crew attention when in operation – is scheduled for completion by the third quarter of 2023, which is expected to make Koryu the cleanest vessel in its category when measured for GHG emissions intensity.
Norsepower’s Rotor Sails are modernised versions of Flettner rotors, and the technology is based on the Magnus effect that harnesses wind to maximise ship fuel efficiency. When wind conditions are favourable, Rotor Sails allow the main engines to be throttled back, saving fuel and reducing emissions, while also reducing power needed to maintain speed and voyage time.
BHP CCO Vandita Pant said: “Identifying and implementing innovative and sustainable solutions through our strong commodity and supply chain partnerships remain essential in supporting BHP’s decarbonisation ambitions. We look forward to working with PPC on the wind-assisted propulsion system to enable further GHG emissions reduction in our supply chain and add to the already strong partnership between BHP and PPC.”
JX Nippon Mining and Metals’ Deputy CEO Kazuhiro Hori said: “PPC and BHP has been sharing the mission to accelerate the activities for decarbonisation in line with our respective climate targets and goals. The Koryu project is a good example of our collaboration and valuable step that proves eagerness by both companies to establish ecosystem partnerships to take on the climate challenge. We are looking forward to further developing the partnership with BHP in various areas.”
Norsepower CSO Jukka Kuuskoski said: “Our vision is to set the standard in bringing sailing back to shipping, and empower the maritime industry towards reaching the goal of zero carbon emissions. As fuel prices increase and a carbon levy is initiated, investing in technologies which have proven emissions reductions and fuel savings is essential for long term commercial success. Working with BHP, PPC and Nippon Marine demonstrates the increased commitment to greener operations, particularly within the bulk carrier market. We look forward to completing the installation and seeing the results.”
This latest partnership with PPC and Norsepower follows BHP’s collaboration agreements in the maritime decarbonisation segment that includes the first marine biofuel trial involving an ocean-going vessel bunkered in Singapore, taking delivery of the first of five LNG-fuelled Newcastlemax bulk carriers and joining a consortium to assess the development of an iron ore Green Corridor between Australia and East Asia. BHP is a founding member of the Global Maritime Decarbonisation Centre in Singapore.
JX Nippon Mining & Metals group has declared the target of net-zero CO2 emissions by fiscal year 2050.