Norwegian shipowner Solvang has revealed tests have shown it has been able to capture 60% of CO2 from a vessel engine.

The company has been working with Finnish technology giant Wartsila since October to develop a system for ethylene carriers.

Land-based full-scale 1.2 MW tests have been running at Wartsila’s facility in Moss, Norway.

The shipowner believes the technique could be a game-changer for decarbonisation.

“The system already runs up to 60% carbon capture on some engine loads, which has never been done before. Furthermore, initial indications are that the CO2 captured is very pure, with little or no product contamination,” said chief executive Edvin Endresen at Solvang.

A bigger kit will “soon” be installed on the 21,000-cbm ethylene carrier Clipper Eos (built 2020), where it will serve the 7 MW main engine, Solvang added.

And by mid-2022, an electrostatic filter will be installed in the ship’s exhaust gas cleaning system, a first in ship engine history.

Fleet director Tor Oyvind Ask said: “We believe deep sea shipping can play an important role” in decarbonisation.

“There are no easy solutions, so we are looking for the big game-changer: to avoid CO2 emissions by means of capture and storage,” he added,

Solvang describes the process as a complex carbon separation that takes place inside the smokestack, resulting in liquid CO2 being transferred to deck tanks, ready for long-term storage or industrial reuse.

More work to be done in 2023

If everything works well, a carbon absorber and stripper units will be installed towards the end of 2023, as well as modification of liquefaction systems to cater for deck tanks.

Over the following two years, a complete carbon capture and storage setup will operate alongside the existing scrubber and exhaust gas cleaning systems on the Eos, providing a steady stream of live data.

Wartsila said in October it was initially aiming for a 70% reduction in CO2 emissions from the exhaust.

The Clipper Eos has been time chartered by Marubeni Corp in Japan since delivery.

The Japanese company has said it is committed to cooperating with Solvang and Wartsila to enable them to perform relevant testing and installation of equipment on the ship.