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Vale presses ahead with multi-fuel bulkers

Brazilian miner Vale has developed a design to incorporate multi-fuel tanks on iron ore carriers. The system, which could see the bulkers chartered by Vale adapted to store liquefied natural gas (LNG), methanol and ammonia, has been developed in partnership with Norwegian companies Brevik Engineering and Passer Marine and verified by the classification society DNV.

According to Vale, a preliminary study for very large ore carriers in the 325,000 dwt guaibamax category estimated that emissions reductions can range from 40% to 80% when powered by methanol and ammonia, or up to 23% in the case of LNG. A pilot project will be developed in the coming months for one of these ships.

“The multi-fuel tank system removes some of the main barriers to the adoption of alternative fuels, which include regulatory and infrastructure uncertainty in defining the optimal fuel. It is a solution for the future, but one that could also impact existing ships, many of which have more than 20 years of service life ahead of them,” explained Rodrigo Bermelho, Vale’s shipping technical manager.

The multi-fuel tank design is part of Vale’s Ecoshipping program, developed to adopt new technologies and renew its fleet with the aim of reducing carbon emissions from shipping. As part of the program, the company last year presented the first ore carrier equipped with rotating sails and the first guaibamax with air lubrication installed. 

Vale has announced investments of up to $6bn since 2020 to reduce its scope 1 and 2 emissions by 33% by 2030 and has also committed to a 15% reduction in scope 3 emissions, which includes shipping, by 2035.

Adis Ajdin

Adis is an experienced news reporter with a background in finance, media and education. He has written across the spectrum of offshore energy and ocean industries for many years and is a member of International Federation of Journalists. Previously he had written for Navingo media group titles including Offshore Energy, Subsea World News and Marine Energy.
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