Enviva Inc., the world’s leading producer of sustainable wood bioenergy, and MOL Drybulk Ltd. (MOLDB), a subsidiary of Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd. (MOL), a leading global shipping group, announced the signing of a supplementary Memorandum of Understanding to deploy an environmentally friendly bulk carrier (EFBC) to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the maritime transport of wood pellets and sustainable biofuels. Following a successful joint study phase, the EFBC is set to launch in 2024 and will aim to use rotor sail technology developed by Anemoi Marine Technologies Ltd with MOL’s ‘Wind Challenger’ technology, which would reduce emissions by harnessing wind power, for an average expected GHG savings of around 20% in total. The 62,900 deadweight ton (dwt) vessel will be built by Oshima Shipbuilding.
Sustainably sourced wood pellets, such as those produced by Enviva, are considered carbon neutral even after considering the entire supply chain, and have been proven to reduce gas emissions greenhouse gas emissions of up to 85% on a life cycle basis compared to coal. As part of Enviva’s goal to achieve net greenhouse gas emissions from its operations by 2030, the company is committed to addressing Scope 3 emissions by committing to proactively with partners like MOLDB to develop and implement new clean energy solutions. Given that transporting pellets across the Atlantic Ocean currently accounts for a third of Enviva’s supply chain emissions, this partnership will generate significant carbon savings in its upstream and downstream value chain.
“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our supply chain is a top priority for us,” said Thomas Meth, chief commercial officer of Enviva. “While we have made progress in reducing the carbon footprint of our operations, there are other innovative opportunities such as the one on which we are partnering with MOLDB to continue to seek more circular approaches in our supply chain. . We couldn’t be more excited to continue to build our relationship with MOLDB to help achieve our goals of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.”
Kazuhiko Kikuchi, President and Representative Director of MOLDB, said, “We are very pleased to make this announcement today alongside our long-time partner, Enviva. Their support and commitment to this project is invaluable. The purpose of launching MOLDB is to become a team of professionals in the dry bulk industry, working closely with our customers to meet their needs and provide solutions. The EFBC is a great example of this, and we can’t wait to see this truly unique vessel set sail and catch the wind.
Development plans for the Wind Challenger began in 2009 as a joint industry-university research project led by the University of Tokyo. MOL took on the plan in 2018 and has been working on the technology ever since. The first Wind Challenger is expected to be released in the second half of this year. The system converts wind energy into propulsive force with a telescopic hard sail. The long-term goal is to develop a widely accepted navigation solution to meet the International Maritime Organization target in combination with other measures to reduce GHGs by equipping ships with multiple sails.