Mitsui OSK Lines has joined a synthetic fuel production project studying the potential of a methanol fuel and CO2 transportation chain to and from Japan.

As shipping looks to the decarbonisation journey it must undertake, shipowners have been increasingly interested in developing their own green fuel supply chains. They are involved in projects to produce biofuels or synthetic fuels.

MOL has teamed up with a division of US-based HIF Global, a company with experience in synthetic fuel production, and Japan’s Idemitsu Kosan, which will be involved in capturing the industrial CO2 emissions that are needed to produce synthetic methanol.

Green synthetic methanol production needs green hydrogen, produced using renewable electricity and CO2, either captured from industrial units as part of their low-emission strategy or through a nascent process known as direct air capture.

MOL will be developing the CO2 transportation chain to the methanol production site and the shipment of the final product.

The three partners will work to develop a cost-effective, competitive supply chain including the export of CO2 to HIF’s overseas synthetic methanol production plants, and then the supply of the methanol from the plants back to Japan.

MOL is no stranger to new fuels. It already has methanol-fuelled ultramax bulkers and car carriers on its books. Last year, it claimed a net-zero transatlantic crossing using bio-methanol.