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Northern Lights to build wind-assisted CO2 carrier pair

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As part of the first phase of its CO2 transport and storage infrastructure development, Northern Lights, the JV between Equinor, Shell and TotalEnergies, is building two dedicated CO2 carriers, each with a cargo size of 7,500m3 and a length of 130m. The ships will be built by Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co., Ltd. (DSIC) and will be ready for delivery by mid-2024.

The vessels are designed to transport liquid CO2 with purpose-built pressurised cargo tanks. The primary fuel for the ships will be LNG, keeping emissions low. Other innovative technologies, such as a wind assisted propulsion system and air lubrication will be installed to reduce carbon intensity by around 34% compared to conventional systems. The ships are the first of its kind and will potentially set a new standard for CO2 shipping on coastal trading routes.

“The award of these contracts is a significant milestone for Northern Lights. The use of ships will enable the development of 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 use of innovative technology”, said Børre Jacobsen, Managing Director of Northern Lights JV.

The ships will be registered in Norway (NOR) and operated by Northern Lights under Norwegian flag and classed by DNV.

“As a shipyard since 1898, DSIC has always been innovative and designed and delivered many record-breaking projects. Responding to the low emission strategy, DSIC worked together with Northern Lights for the development of the selected technical solutions over the last two years. The cooperation and efforts by both parties has been materialized in the award of these contracts today. Taking this opportunity, DSIC will devote ourselves to delivery of these pioneering projects in a safe, high-quality and timely manner and assist Northern Lights on the ambitions of low carbon emission,” said Riqiang Hu, Marketing Director of DSIC.

Once in operation, the ships will load captured and liquefied CO2 from European emitters and transport it to the Northern Lights receiving terminal in Øygarden in western Norway. The CO2 volumes will be accurately measured and reported throughout the value chain. These will be independently verified, and the necessary documentation provided to regulators and customs officials.

Through its cross-border CO2 transport and storage infrastructure, Northern Lights is enabling the first European full-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) value chain, paving the way for cost reductions and scale-up of similar, future projects.

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