Zero Emission Tugboats
Dutch companies Value Maritime and Carbon Collectors are going to jointly perform assessment of a project to design carbon-neutral tugboats. These tugboats will be outfitted with emission-capture diesel engines. For this, the companies plan to use Value Maritime’s Filtree system, which can capture sulfur and carbon dioxide from marine exhausts.

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Value Maritime’s system is intended for small to medium sized vessels (engine power 3 to 15 megawatts). It consists of several elements: a compact scrubber unit for capturing greenhouse gases; portable tank for CO2 injection, storage and subsequent transportation; and finally, treatment systems for ballast water used by cargo ships for stability. Filtree system has already been put into trial use, having been installed on JR Shipbuilding, Wijnne Barend and Boomsma Shipping vessels over the past year.

Filtree system might, at one go, solve several issues faced by transport operators. On the one hand, it can minimise carbon dioxide emissions from maritime transport, which is one of the largest sources of CO2. According to McKinsey’s estimates, it accounts for 11% of CO2 emissions of the entire transport sector (with land and air transport accounting for 75% and 13%, respectively, and all other types of transport, for 1%). On the other hand, Filtree system allows the use of high sulfur fuels while complying with the rules of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which in 2020 banned the use of fuels with sulfur content exceeding 0.1%.

Filtree system will be integrated into the design of marine diesel tugboats. Carbon Collectors is intending to launch the production of these in 2024. Commissioning of the first tugboat is planned for 2026.

The joint project between Value Maritime and Carbon Collectors will further boost interest in carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS). According to the International Energy Agency, global investment into the advancement of CCUS technologies has grown from $170 million in 2020 to $600 million in 2021. Energy storage capex have increased from $5.5 billion to $7.1 billion over the same period.


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