Promoting Environmental and Emission Free Businesses
The MOL Group will develop and drive the new "Environment and Emission Free Businesses" with the aim of making them core operations in the next generation. These include "Renewable Energy Business," "Alternative Fuel Business," "CO2 Emissions Reduction Business," and "Environmental Value Creation Business," which we see as business opportunities. CO2 emissions from ocean-going vessels account for 2% of the worldwide total, in fact, negatively impacting the environment. Therefore, we will steadily promote those businesses as part of our social responsibility as an ocean shipping company.
- Investing in Wind Turbine Installation Vessel Business
- Wind Challenger
- LNG-fueled Tugboat
- Long-term Charter Deals for LNG Bunkering Vessels with Total, Pavilion Gas
- Teaming up with Karpowership in LNG-to-Powership Project
- New Partnership Looks toward Zero-emission Fully Electric Vessels
- Upgraded Version of PBCF
Renewable Energy Investing in Wind Turbine Installation Vessel Business
MOL invested in Seajacks International Limited (Seajacks) Group, which owns and operates five Wind Turbine Installation vessels (WTIV)(Note 1).
This is a new offshore business for MOL, and also the first step into the renewable energy business field through involvement in installation of offshore wind power generation systems, which is expanding in Europe and other areas around the world.
MOL continually contributes to environmental protection in areas and ports worldwide, and takes a proactive stance in promoting thoroughly safe operation and ocean and global environmental protection in compliance with our corporate principles.
(Note 1) WTIV:
The platform is equipped with legs that rest on the seabed and move up and down. The vessel installs offshore wind power generation systems by moving the platform up to the sea surface with a crane. By raising and maintaining a level higher than the waves, the generators can operate even in rough seas. It can be used not only to install offshore wind power generation systems, but also to help maintain offshore oil and gas rigs.
MOL participates in the "Wind Challenger Project" (launched in 2009), a joint industry-academia research project led by the University of Tokyo. The project focuses on using advanced sails to provide propulsion for merchant vessels. It aims to reduce vessels' fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by maximizing the use of wind power. In January 2018, MOL and Oshima Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. took over the university-led project and launched an initiative aimed at equipping a vessel with sails. MOL will select a vessel for the project within fiscal 2019, with the launch of operations slated for 2022.
1st LNG-fueled Tugboat Launched to Serve Osaka Bay
LNG-fueled vessels have the potential to significantly reduce the impact of ocean transport, because the combustion of LNG produces almost zero sulfur oxide (SOx) and much lower emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and carbon dioxide (CO2) compared to vessels that run on conventional heavy fuel oil.
The LNG-fueled tugboat Ishin, launched in February 2019, marks a major step toward a cleaner future for the ocean shipping industry. The Ishin is equipped with high-performance, dual-fuel commercial marine engines (Note 1) that deliver high-speed operation and excellent environmental performance. It is Japan's first tugboat built to conform to the IGF code (Note 2).
In addition, its excellent environmental performance earned the top rating of four stars from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT)'s energy-saving rating program for Japan's coastal ships (Note 3).
MOL positions the Ishin as a part of the "ISHIN NEXT – MOL SMART SHIP PROJECT -," and will build on this experience in the development and operations of various types of LNG-fueled vessels. The company will also take a proactive stance in promoting the adoption of LNG fuels through vessel technology development and operation.
Dual-fuel commercial marine engines: An engine designed to run on both A fuel oil and LNG
The IGF Code stands for the International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low-flashpoint Fuels, aimed at ensuring the safety of LNG-fueled vessels. The code establishes safety requirements for vessels that run on gas and low-flashpoint fuels, and took effect on January 1, 2017.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT)'s energy-saving rating program aims to "visualize" energy savings and the effects of CO2 reduction in the vessel planning and design stages and objectively evaluate ships' energy-saving and CO2 reduction performance to foster the development of coastal ships that offer greater energy saving and CO2 reduction.
Long-term Charter Deals for LNG Bunkering Vessels with Total, Pavilion Gas
MOL has signed long-term charter contracts for LNG bunkering vessels with Total Marine Fuels Global Solutions and with Pavilion Gas Pte. Ltd., in February 2018 and February 2019, respectively.
Demand for LNG as bunker fuel is expected to grow on a global scale as stricter SOx emissions standards take effect in January 2020 (Note 1). In April 2017, with the aim of speeding up progress on business related to alternative bunker fuels such as LNG, MOL established the Bunker Business Division to enter the bunker business in an integrated fashion. We aim to promote the expanded use of LNG-fueled vessels and further expand LNG fuel supply business.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is limiting the sulfur content of bunker fuel to reduce vessel exhaust emissions of SOx and prevent air pollution. The current limit of 3.5% sulfur content in bunker fuel is being reduced to 0.5% as of January 2020. Main measures to comply with the new standards include (1) installation of onboard scrubbers, (2) use of compliant fuel, and (3) transition to LNG as fuel.
Teaming up with Karpowership in LNG-to-Powership Project
In March 2019, Karpower International B.V. (Karpowership) and MOL agreed to collaborate in the LNG-to-Powership business, with the goal of becoming the world's most reliable and preferable LNG-to-Powership solution provider, under the brand name "KARMOL." The parties aim to co-invest in the related assets and joint market their solution in selected markets around the world.
Generating power through the Powership® by receiving regasified LNG through a floating LNG storage and regasification unit (FSRU), KARMOL will provide reliable electricity to shore grids and facilities. The synergy of MOL's track record and expertise in the LNG carrier and FSRU business and Karpowership's background in the Powership® business will allow for constructive solutions in power generation.
New Partnership Looks toward Zero-emission Fully Electric Vessels
In August 2019, Asahi Tanker Co., Ltd., Exeno Yamamizu Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation, and MOL agreed to create a strategic partnership to provide new infrastructure services in the marine shipping industry that focus on electrically powered vessels, and established company a new company called e5 Lab. Inc. (e5 Lab).
The first objective for e5 Lab will be to build the world's first zero-emission tanker by mid-2021. The tanker will be a coastal vessel powered by large-capacity batteries and will operate in Tokyo Bay.
Upgraded Version of PBCF
In 2017, MOL Group, MOL Techno-Trade, Ltd. started selling an upgraded version of its energy-saving Propeller Boss Cap Fins (PBCF), which is a pioneering energy-saving device for propellers, and has been adopted on more than 3,300 vessels all over the world. The new type of PBCF was jointly developed by MOL, Akishima Laboratories (Mitsui Zosen) Inc., and MOL Techno-Trade. The new design enhances propeller thrust and reduces the load on the propeller shafts thanks to refinements in fin shape and height. Tests of the new type PBCF on vessels in service confirmed an energy savings of around 5% compared to sister vessels not equipped with PBCF.
PBCF is also recognized for its effectiveness in reducing underwater noise. It has been confirmed that sound pressure can be reduced in the range of 100-1,000 Hz by reducing the cavitation of the propeller. PBCF was selected as a technology to reduce cavitation in the "EcoAction Program" implemented by the Port of Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada), and in turn limit underwater noise, which adversely affects whales and other marine mammals.
Furthermore, MOL Techno-Trade has joined a Green Award Program aimed at promoting high-quality shipping, run by the nonprofit Green Award Foundation. The company encourages efforts to reduce environmental impact by offering preferential prices on its energy-saving PBCF to vessels and shipping companies that engage in environmental protection efforts.