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Northern Lights orders two CO2 carriers

Northern Lights, a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project based in Norway, has ordered two carbon dioxide (CO2) carriers from Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co. of China.

The project is a joint venture owned equally by energy companies TotalEnergies, Shell and Equinor. It aims to collect carbon dioxide that has been captured from emitters in Europe and transport it first to a terminal in Øygarden, Norway, from where it will ultimately be pumped through a pipeline and permanently stored more than a mile and a half under the seabed in a geological reservoir.

Naturally, it would defeat the point if the transport of CO2 led to substantial emissions in itself, so the carbon intensity of the new vessels will be minimised by using liquefied natural gas (LNG) as fuel and leveraging technologies like air lubrication. Unlike traditional lubricants like gear oil that work between two metal surfaces, air lubrication uses tiny bubbles to reduce the frictional resistance between a ship’s hull and the water, thus reducing fuel consumption.

Northern Lights’ managing director, Børre Jacobsen, said that the new ships would help the company provide a:

“…flexible and efficient European infrastructure network for transport of CO2 captured by our industrial customers, keeping costs as low as possible to help decarbonisation scale up. I am also very pleased that these ships will be built to keep their own emissions to a minimum through the use of innovative technology.”

The company will initially have enough capacity to transport and store up to 1.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.

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