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Enviva and MOL plan to deploy Wind Challenger

Enviva and MOL plan to deploy Wind Challenger
Thomas Meth (left), Chief Commercial Officer of Enviva, and Kazuhiko Kikuchi, President of MOL Drybulk (MOLDB) at the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony held on May 18, 2022 (photo courtesy BusinessWire).

US-based Enviva Inc, the world’s largest producer of wood pellets, and MOL Drybulk Ltd (MOLDB), a subsidiary of Japan-headed global marine transport group Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd (MOL), have signed an additional Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to deploy an environmentally friendly bulk carrier (EFBC) to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the ocean transportation of sustainable wood pellets and biofuels.

Following a successful joint study phase, the EFBC is scheduled for launch in 2024 and will aim to utilize rotor sail technology developed by Anemoi Marine Technologies Ltd together with MOL’s ‘Wind Challenger’ technology, which would both reduce emissions by harnessing wind energy, for an expected average GHG savings of about 20 percent in total.

The 62,900-deadweight tonnes (dwt) vessel will be built by Oshima Shipbuilding.

Reduce Scope 3 emissions

Sustainably sourced wood pellets, like the ones Enviva produces, are considered carbon-neutral even after taking into account the full supply chain and have been proven to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 85 percent on a lifecycle basis compared to coal.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our supply chain is a foremost priority for us, said Thomas Meth, Chief Commercial Officer of Enviva.

As part of Enviva’s goal to achieve net-zero GHG emissions from its operations by 2030, the company has committed to addressing Scope 3 emissions by proactively engaging with partners like MOLDB to develop and implement new clean energy solutions.

We are very happy to make this announcement today alongside our long-term partner, Enviva. Their support and commitment to this project are invaluable, said Kazuhiko Kikuchi, President and Representative Director of MOLDB.

As shipping pellets across the Atlantic Ocean currently comprises one-third of Enviva’s supply chain emissions, this partnership will generate large carbon savings in its upstream and downstream value chain.

While we have made progress in reducing our operations’ CO2 footprint, there are more innovative opportunities like the one we are partnering on with MOLDB to continue to strive for more circular approaches in our supply chain. We couldn’t be more excited about continuing to build on our relationship with MOLDB to help reach our goals of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, Thomas Meth said.

Telescopic hard sail system

The first Wind Challenger is scheduled to be released in the second half of this year. The system converts wind energy to propulsive force with a telescopic hard sail.

The long-term goal is to develop a widely accepted shipping solution to achieve the International Maritime Organization (IMO) target in combination with other measures to reduce GHG by equipping vessels with multiple sails.

The purpose of launching MOLDB is to become a team of professionals in the dry bulk business, working closely with our customers to meet their needs and provide solutions. The EFBC is a great example, and we cannot wait to see this truly unique vessel set her sails and catch the wind, ended Kazuhiko Kikuchi.

About The Wind Challenger Project

The Wind Challenger Project started in 2009 with the “Wind Challenger Plan,” an industry-academia joint research project led by the University of Tokyo. Since 2013, the team has been chosen to receive a subsidy on next-generation marine environment-related technology research from Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism.

In January 2018, MOL and Oshima Shipbuilding took charge of the plan and now play a central role in this project.

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