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World’s first biomass-fuelled vessel by end of this decade

Japanese shipping line Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) has signed an agreement together with NYK Bulk & Projects Carriers, compatriot shipbuilder Tsuneishi and British utility Drax to develop the world’s first biomass-fuelled vessel by the end of this decade.

The memorandum of understanding, signed at the British Embassy in Tokyo, outlines plans to develop an onboard biomass fuel plant for the bioship and explore other renewable technologies to reduce emissions and fuel costs in shipping biomass.

With increasing demand for biomass pellets in Japan, primarily imported from North America, the biomass fuel plant would utilize a gasifier to combust biomass and generate gases like carbon monoxide, hydrogen, and methane to power a generator for propulsion and internal power.

NYK estimates a potential 22% reduction in carbon emissions compared to fossil fuels. If successful, the companies aim to study building a bioship by 2029.

Shinichi Yanagisawa, NYK Line executive officer, highlighted the initiative’s alignment with NYK’s long-term goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

Drax’s involvement reflects its ambition to become carbon-negative by 2030. The collaboration signifies a significant step towards powering the world’s first biomass ship, supporting Drax’s decarbonization objectives and driving innovation in global supply chains to reduce carbon emissions and fuel costs.



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