The Drax Group, whose UK power stations produce electricity from wood pellets produced from sustainable low-value commercial forestry residues, is also a major supplier of such pellets globally. It is now looking for a greener way to get them from North America, where its pellet business is based, to power plants in Japan.
It is partnering with Japanese MOL Drybulk to develop pellet carriers equipped with MOL’s Wind Challenger hard-sail technology, with the first vessel expected as early as 2025.
Drax says that under a recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the two companies will investigate the feasibility of deploying a first and second generation environmentally friendly bulk carrier (EFBC) to transport Drax biomass.
The first EFBC will use MOL – Wind Challenger’s automated telescopic hard sail technology, and will evaluate the application of other technologies, including rotor sails.
The second EFBC aims to cut emissions by at least half with new ship designs that use multiple Wind Challenger sails, other low-carbon technologies in development, and the use of alternative fuels such as ammonia, liquefied natural gas and synthetic fuels.
MOL Drybulk’s work will include developing the technologies that will be used and liaising with the shipyard where the vessel will be built and fitted with hard sail technology. Drax will work with ports and supply chain terminals on operational feasibility studies.
Drax says the MoU with MOL Drybulk follows previous work with the Smart Green Shipping Alliance to examine the potential for installing innovative sail technology on ships carrying biomass from the US to the UK. -United.
“MOL Drybulk’s hardsail technology has the potential to transform the maritime industry, reducing emissions and fuel costs and supporting global efforts to address the climate crisis,” said Will Gardiner, Managing Director. of the Drax group. “This partnership to advance this crucial new technology will support Drax’s commitment to reducing emissions from its own supply chain and could also deliver significant benefits across a number of different industries that depend on ships to transport goods to customers all over the world.”