Skip to main content

Liquid CO2 carriage by sea: An introduction

Share

As awareness grows about the harmful effects of carbon emissions, we have seen a surge in demand for knowledge about how to carry CO₂ on seagoing vessels, in bulk. This article provides an overview of the challenges and opportunities involved.

What makes CO₂ so special as a cargo?

 

Most other gases can be carried in a liquid form provided they are at or below their boiling point and either:

  • Under pressure alone
  • Under refrigeration alone
  • Under a combination of pressure and refrigeration.

CO₂ however is different. To carry it in its liquid form, CO₂ requires both pressure and refrigeration to prevent it directly converting from its gaseous state into its solid state (dry ice). These combined pressure/refrigeration requirements are not fixed but are sometimes referred to as “high pressure”, “medium pressure” and “low pressure”. These constraints have important implications for vessel design and capacity.

What pressure/temperature criteria are realistic for bulk liquid CO₂ carriage? (Provisional figures)

 

  Smaller-scale Vessels* Large Vessels
Pressure Range Low/Medium Low
Min Temperature -35 degrees celsius -55 degrees celsius
Max Temperature 19 bar 5.5 bar

How is CO₂ carried today?

 

CO₂ has been shipped by sea since the late 1980s, initially on converted dry cargo vessels. The existing fleet of CO₂ vessels comprises only four units (see table below). These have mostly been trading within Europe on short-haul business, supplying CO₂ to the food and drink industries.

 

Vessel Name Capacity Built Yard Owner
Helle 1,265 1999 Frisian SY Nippon Gasses Europe
Gerda 1,800 2004 Royal Bodewes SY Nippon Gasses Europe
Embla 1,800 2005 Royal Bodewes SY Nippon Gasses Europe
Froya 1,800 2005 Royal Bodewes SY Nippon Gasses Europe

Can any other types of gas ships carry CO₂?

 

The realistic answer is no. While there are six existing gas vessels of 10,000 CBM capacity with a rating that enables them to carry CO₂, they have never done so. The intake and sloshing-related challenges they would face makes CO₂ carriage impractical.

What about LNG carriers?

 

Again, the simple answer is no. LNG carriers are not able to withstand the pressure required to handle CO₂ cargo. There are some small-scale LNG carriers which have a relatively high-pressure rating, but still not high enough for this purpose.

Could further dry cargo vessels be converted for CO₂ carriage?

 

This would be impractical for cargo volumes of significant scale.

 

 

Clarksons’ specialist experience within liquid CO transportation

The Clarksons Gases team is firmly established at the heart of the global gas markets with an unrivalled track record in providing shipping and trade-related services for LPG, ammonia, petrochemical gases, and LNG. We are determined to become equally proficient in the emerging, seaborne CO₂ business and have formed a specialist team within Gases department.

The specialist team continues to work closely with other divisions within Clarksons to ensure we remain at the forefront of developments in the sector. Our knowledge base on CO₂ has increased significantly and we are confident of being able to assist you with your CO₂ projects and shipping strategy.

Further Insight
Research Shipping & Trade Green Transition
News

Green Technology & Alternative Fuel Uptake

Clarksons Research have recently released their latest Green Technology Tracker, including first half 2024 data points, charting the progress of alternative fuel uptake and investments in energy saving technologies across the global shipping fleet.

Click to read this article
People Achievement
News

Clarksons’ Sandra Rosignoli appointed to Board of Directors at Maritime London

Maritime London recently announced the appointment of Sandra Rosignoli (Group General Counsel and Head of Compliance, Clarksons) to its Board of Directors. Sandra will be one of 6 members of the board, including recently appointed Mike Salthouse.

Click to read this article
Philip Lye, Battery and base metals
Broking Derivatives
News

Derivatives team launches new desk, focused on base and battery metals in futures and physical markets

Clarksons financial derivatives division has established a new desk focused on broking base and battery metals in both the futures and physical markets.

Click to read this article