Methanol Institute publishes new guide to methanol as a marine fuel

Written by Nick Blenkey
Methanol Institute CEO

Methanol Institute CEO Gregg Dolan says methanol presents a pathway to carbon neutral operations

The Methanol Institute (MI) has published a comprehensive guide to methanol as a marine fuel. The guide, “Marine Methanol: Future-proof shipping fuel,” has been produced to help stakeholders access the information they need to support decision-making on which alternative fuel is right for their fleet.

Sections of the report address regulatory drivers, environmental performance, engines and fuel systems, bunkering, handling and safety characteristics, costs and pricing, availability and feedstocks for conventional and renewable product. Also included are case studies on first movers including, AP Moller-Maersk, Waterfront Shipping, Proman Stena Bulk and the conversion of the RoPax ferry Stena Germanica.

The orderbook for methanol fueled ships has grown rapidly with owners and operators specifying the fuel for use on ships from the largest containerships to small pilot boats. In between is a growing fleet of methanol carriers, bunker tankers, bulk carriers, heavylift vessels, cruiseships, ferries and superyachts.

With approved for its use as fuel under the IMO IGF Code, the momentum for methanol as fuel has increased as studies, analysis and guidance – much of it supported by the Methanol Institute – has been published. This includes early guidance for bunkering operations developed with Lloyd’s Register and subsequent work with the ports of Shanghai, Singapore and Rotterdam.

Propulsion systems include tried and tested two-stroke main engines, four stroke units, and fuel cells using methanol for conversion to hydrogen. Main engine manufacturers report considerable order backlogs and are developing ever larger, higher capacity units. Studies and pilot programs continue to prove the effectiveness of converting smaller main engines to methanol operations.

“Methanol has staked a significant claim to be among the serious fuel choices for vessel designers, owners and operators looking to make a start on their transition to sustainable operations,” said MI CEO Greg Dolan. “While there won’t be a single decarbonization solution, it is clear that methanol has advantages that combine to provide a pathway to lower carbon and ultimately carbon-neutral operations; This report provides a clear roadmap for this journey.”

“Shipowners have recognized that methanol provides them with huge flexibility in introducing a low-pollution, lower carbon fuel which is closest to a drop-in available in the market,” said MI COO Chris Chatterton. “The decision by more and more leading shipping companies to adopt methanol as fuel signals that the industry recognizes the need to start its transition to net carbon neutrality now; this publication can support their decision-making process.”

  • Download the guide HERE
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