Renewable methanol is ‘fuel with a future’

2018-10-28T21:49:30+00:00 October 28th, 2018|Technology|

A report has found that renewable methanol is ideal as a fuel for passenger ship medium speed engines.

Welcoming the findings of the MethaShip research project was the Methanol Institute.

The study found that methanol can offer a dramatic improvement in emissions reduction across multiple ship types once the IMO has established the statutory framework conditions necessary for an industry-wide reduction of CO2 emissions.

“The whole shipping sector is facing major challenges with ever stricter emission regulations for ships, paired with a growing environmental awareness among shipowners and passengers alike,” said MethaShip Project Leade, Meyer Werft’s Daniel Sahnen. “Some technical and financial details still need to be clarified but in the medium term a breakthrough could be possible with methanol as a fuel for a holistic reduction of CO2 emissions.”

This research project involved shipbuilding, class, engine manufacturing and methanol production who came together to investigate the potential of methanol as a fuel for cruise ships and ro-ro passenger ferries. It included the development of a potential cruise ship design featuring seven integrated storage tanks made of coated conventional mild steel.

“Methanol is a clear, water-soluble, biodegradable fluid and in contrast to other alternative fuels, such as LNG, it offers the crucial advantage of being very easy to handle,” said Methanol Institute’s Chief Representative Europe, Eelco Dekker (pictured). “In addition to its potential for long term emissions reduction, the easier storage and transport properties are a strong driver behind the growing interest in using methanol as a fuel for shipping.”

MethaShip’s research project consortium consisted of Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft, Lloyd’s Register, Meyer Werft and associate partners Caterpillar, Helm and MAN Diesel & Turbo. It was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

The study’s key conclusions included:
⦁ The properties of Methanol surpass other alternative fuels in shipping.
⦁ The major benefit is the storage at ambient temperature and ambient pressure without loss.
⦁ In terms of ship design, methanol is space-saving, simple and practical with the established advantages of a liquid fuel.
⦁ Methanol offers compelling environmental properties and has the most promising lifecycle analysis when produced from renewable sources.
⦁ An already widespread infrastructure and availability could be a key enabler for methanol.