More methanol-fueled bulkers on order

Written by Nick Blenkey
Methanol-fueled bulkers are part of picture

More ship operators continue to be persuaded by the case for methanol as a marine fuel and while orders for methanol-fueled containerships have been getting a lot of attention, methanol is now making inroads in the bulker segment. Evidence of the trend is an order placed with long-time MAN Energy Solutions licensee, Mitsui E&S Machinery. It is to supply the individual MAN B&W 6G50ME-LGIM (-Liquid Gas Injection Methanol) engine for a 65,700 dwt bulk carrier slated for construction at Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. The vessel is the latest methanol-fueled bulker ordered in recent weeks. The order comes after chartering giant Cargill teamed up with Mitsui & Co to order the world’s first methanol dual-fueled bulk carriers at Tsuneishi.

Engine for methanol-fueled bulker
MAN Energy Solutions developed the ME-LGIM dual-fuel engine for operation on methanol, as well as conventional fuel. The engine is based on the company’s proven ME-series, with its approximately 8,500 engines in service, and works according to the diesel principle. When operating on green methanol, the engine offers carbon-neutral propulsion for large merchante vessels.

Bjarne Foldager, senior vice president and head of low-speed, MAN Energy Solutions, said: “In a market that has seen a rapidly increasing demand for decarbonized transport from its major players, the interest in methanol as a fuel has surged and – at this moment in time – represents more than 30% of all our current, open-pipeline projects across a broad range of vessel segments. As such, seeing bulk carriers now also entering this fuel segment is completely in line with our expectations and these newbuildings will benefit greatly from the option to operate either on methanol or conventional fuel with equally high fuel efficiency.”

Sachio Okumura, representative director and president & executive officer at Tsuneishi Shipbuilding, said: “For Tsuneishi Shipbuilding, which is striving to build methanol-fueled ships with the aim of becoming a front-runner in next-generation-fueled ships, securing a high-value-added engine through this contract is an extremely important step. We will continue to focus on technological innovation together with engine manufacturers in order to provide our customers with zero-emission ships that are both environmentally friendly and economical.”


“Customers are increasingly interested in next-generation fuels, and methanol is one of the promising fuels,” said Ichiro Tanaka, president and representative director at Mitsui E&S Machinery. “We have a track record of manufacturing dual-fuel engines such as LNG-fired engines, and in 2015 delivered the world’s first methanol engine as the main engine for a methanol carrier. Taking advantage of this adoption for bulk carriers, we will continue to meet the various needs of our customers, provide engines that are environmentally friendly and economical, and contribute to the realization of a decarbonized society.”

As a fuel, methanol can be carbon-neutral when produced from renewable energy sources and biogenic CO2. The production capacity of this green methanol is currently increasing significantly. Methanol is also liquid at ambient conditions, which simplifies tank design and minimizes costs. MAN Energy Solutions reports that its methanol engine requires a fuel-supply pressure of just 13 bar and that a number of manufacturers already offer these fuel-supply systems today.

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