China-based Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Company (DSIC) has secured a contract from the Northern Lights joint venture (JV) to build two liquefied natural gas (LNG)-driven, wind-assisted CO₂ carriers.

These 130m ships, each with a cargo size of 7,500m³, are being constructed under the first phase of Northern Lights’ CO₂ transport and storage infrastructure development.

The expected delivery of the vessels is mid-2024.

The newbuilds will sail under the Norwegian flag and be classed by the classification society DNV.

For the transportation of liquid CO₂, the vessels will feature purpose-built pressurised cargo tanks.

They will also be equipped with a wind-assisted propulsion system and air lubrication technology.

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These solutions will help lower carbon intensity by around 34% compared with conventional systems.

According to the company, the ‘first of its kind’ carriers are expected to set a new standard for CO₂ shipping on coastal trading courses.

Northern Lights JV managing director Børre Jacobsen said: “The award of these contracts is a significant milestone for Northern Lights.

“The use of ships will enable the development of a flexible and efficient European infrastructure network for transport of CO₂ captured by our industrial customers, keeping costs as low as possible to help decarbonisation scale up. I am also very pleased that these ships will be built to keep their own emissions to a minimum through use of innovative technology.”

After commencing operations, the vessels will fill up captured and liquefied CO₂ from European emitters and carry it to the Northern Lights receiving terminal in Norway’s Øygarden.

Furthermore, the volumes of CO₂ will be measured with precision and reported throughout the value chain, stated Northern Lights.

It will be verified autonomously, and the required documentation will be delivered to regulators, as well as customs officials.

Northern Lights JV is a registered, incorporated general partnership with Shared Liability (DA) owned by Equinor, Shell and TotalEnergies.