MOL Drybulk (MOLDB), a subsidiary of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, and Enviva, a producer of sustainable wood bioenergy, have signed an additional memorandum of understanding to deploy an environmentally friendly bulk carrier (EFBC) to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced during the transportation of sustainable wood pellets and biofuels by sea.
After a successful joint study phase, the EFBC is scheduled to launch in 2024 with rotor sail technology developed by Anemoi Marine Technologies in addition to MOL’s Wind Challenger technology. By harnessing wind energy, it is hoped that the systems will result in average greenhouse gas savings of around 20% in total.
Development of the Wind Challenger began in 2009 as an industry-academia joint research project led by the University of Tokyo. MOL took charge of the project in 2018 and the first Wind Challenger is now scheduled to be released in the second half of 2022. The system uses a telescopic hard sail to convert wind energy to propulsive force. MOL’s long-term goal is to develop a widely accepted shipping solution to meet the International Maritime Organization emissions targets. The company also plans to develop other measures to reduce greenhouse gases by equipping vessels with multiple sails.
Sustainably sourced wood pellets produced by Enviva are considered to be carbon-neutral even after considering the full supply chain. The products have also been proved to reduce GHG emissions by up to 85% on a lifecycle basis compared with coal. Enviva aims to achieve net-zero GHG emissions by 2030 and has committed to addressing Scope 3 emissions by engaging with companies like MOLDB to develop and implement new clean-energy solutions.
“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our supply chain is a foremost priority for us,” said Thomas Meth, chief commercial officer at Enviva. “While we have made progress in reducing our operations’ CO2 footprint, there are more innovative opportunities like the one we are partnering on with MOLDB to continue to strive for more circular approaches in our supply chain. We couldn’t be more excited about continuing to build on our relationship with MOLDB to help reach our goals of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.”
Kazuhiko Kikuchi, president and representative director at MOLDB, added, “We are very happy to make this announcement today alongside our long-term partner, Enviva. Their support and commitment to this project are invaluable. The purpose of launching MOLDB is to become a team of professionals in the dry bulk business, working closely with our customers to meet their needs and provide solutions. The EFBC is a great example, and we cannot wait to see this truly unique vessel set her sails and catch the wind.”