Erik Thun, Electrochaea in talks over e-methane offtake

Germany-based provider of synthetic methane technology Electrochaea and Swedish shipping company Erik Thun have signed a letter of intent (LoI) to initiate negotiations on the offtake of e-methane for green maritime fuel.

The potential collaboration would see e-methane produced by Electrochaea’s subsidiary BioCAT Roslev Aps in Denmark used as maritime fuel in the vessels operated by Erik Thun.

Electrochaea is currently working on setting up a power-to-gas production in the Danish municipality of Skive. Renewable power from wind will be used to produce green hydrogen which will be mixed with the CO2 from biogas production at Rybjerg Biogas in a bioreactor to produce e-methane using Electrochaea’s patented bio-methanation technology.

The resulting e-methane will be fed into the Danish gas grid, benefiting the decarbonization of gas consumers throughout Europe.

Erik Thun plans to use e-methane to replace fossil-based LNG fuel, allowing the company to operate its existing LNG fleet without replacing its propulsion systems to accommodate other renewable fuels.

Johan Källsson, Managing Director of Erik Thun AB, said: “Walking the path to carbon neutrality poses enormous challenges. At Erik Thun AB, we are steadfast in our commitment to lead this transition by integrating renewable fuels into our operations. Currently, we are actively exploring different alternatives. For our vessels running on LNG, E-methane is emerging as a cleaner option.

The journey towards deploying the world’s first ocean-going ammonia-powered vessel commenced in 2022 when Fortescue successfully converted a four-stroke engine to accommodate ammonia alongside diesel at its land-based testing facility in Perth, Australia.

Subsequently, conversion work transpired on the vessel at Seatrium’s Benoi yard from July 2023 onwards. This encompassed the installation of the gas fuel delivery system, safety infrastructure, and the successful adaptation of two out of four engines onboard to facilitate the usage of ammonia-diesel blend for propulsion.

Notably, during its journey from Singapore to the Middle East in December 2023, the Fortescue Green Pioneer was showcased at significant environmental forums in Dubai, drawing the attention of global leaders and industry stakeholders.

Prior to commencing operations in Singapore, exhaustive safety measures were undertaken, including Hazard Identification Study workshops and specialised training sessions for crew members to ensure preparedness for potential emergencies.

Additionally, an ammonia plume model was collaboratively developed by various research institutions to guide safety protocols and incident response planning during operations.

The fuel trial, spanning seven weeks, involved comprehensive testing of the vessel’s ammonia storage systems, fuel delivery mechanism, retrofitted engines, and overall seaworthiness.

Noteworthy safety precautions were implemented, including the utilisation of personal protective equipment by crew members.

Importantly, the trial marked a significant step towards commercialising ammonia-fueled marine engines, with post-combustion emissions meeting local air quality standards.

Furthermore, Vopak’s provision of liquid ammonia for the trial underscores the feasibility of leveraging existing infrastructure to support the adoption of ammonia as a marine fuel globally.

Tags: E-Methane, Electrochaea, Eric Thun
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