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Japanese Shipping Giant MOL to Drive E-Methanol Supply Chain Initiative
Japanese Shipping Giant MOL to Drive E-Methanol Supply Chain Initiative

Japanese Shipping Giant MOL to Drive E-Methanol Supply Chain Initiative

  • 20-Mar-2024 3:02 PM
  • Journalist: Sasha Fernandes

Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has entered into a synthetic fuel production initiative aimed at exploring the feasibility of establishing a methanol fuel and CO2 transportation network to and from Japan. As the shipping industry embarks on its decarbonization journey, shipowners are increasingly exploring the development of their own sustainable fuel supply chains. Many are actively engaged in projects focused on producing biofuels or synthetic fuels.

In this endeavor, MOL has partnered with a division of HIF Global, a US-based company with expertise in synthetic fuel production, along with Japan's Idemitsu Kosan, which will play a role in capturing industrial CO2 emissions necessary for synthetic methanol production. The production of green synthetic methanol necessitates the use of green hydrogen, generated through renewable electricity and CO2, either sourced from industrial facilities as part of their low-emission initiatives or via a nascent process referred to as direct air capture.

MOL's involvement in the project extends to the development of a CO2 transportation infrastructure to facilitate the transfer of CO2 to the methanol production site and the subsequent shipment of the final product.

The collaborative effort among the three partners aims to establish a cost-effective and competitive supply chain, encompassing the export of CO2 to HIF's synthetic methanol production facilities overseas, followed by the transportation of methanol from these plants back to Japan.

MOL is no newcomer to exploring alternative fuels. The company already operates methanol-fueled ultramax bulkers and car carriers. Moreover, it achieved a notable milestone last year by completing a net-zero transatlantic crossing utilizing bio-methanol.

Idemitsu is actively pursuing diverse and environmentally sustainable low-carbon energy solutions, resource conservation initiatives, and circular economy practices within society. This commitment aligns with its 2030 Vision, "Your Reliable Partner for a Brighter Future," and its 2050 Vision, "Shape the Change." While continuing to fulfill its responsibility of ensuring a stable energy supply, primarily through fossil fuels like petroleum, Idemitsu is dedicated to implementing strategies that support a greener future. As part of its overarching plan, Idemitsu aims to establish a green supply chain for biomass-derived fuels and chemicals, encompassing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), biodiesel, bio-chemicals, ammonia, and synthetic fuels by 2030.

HIF Global stands at the forefront of synthetic fuels innovation, pioneering projects aimed at transforming hydrogen generated from low-cost renewable energy into carbon-neutral liquid synthetic fuels. These fuels are designed to be transported and utilized within existing infrastructure, contributing to global decarbonization efforts. The name "HIF" reflects the company's mission: to deliver Highly Innovative Fuels that enable the decarbonization of the planet.

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