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Passenger Ship Technology

MethaShip project: renewable methanol a ‘long-term solution’ for emissions reduction

Mon 22 Oct 2018 by Rebecca Moore

MethaShip project: renewable methanol a ‘long-term solution’ for emissions reduction
Much of the bunkering and transport infrastructure for methanol already exists and can be extended further by adjustments to existing tanks and vessels

The MethaShip research project has found key advantages for using methanol in medium-speed marine engines for passenger shipping.

The research project brought together partners from shipbuilding, classification, engine manufacturing and methanol production to investigate the potential of methanol as a fuel for cruise ships and roro passenger ferries.

It also included developing a cruise ship design featuring seven integrated storage tanks made of coated conventional mild steel.

The Methanol Institute reported that the findings of the project concluded renewable methanol offers a “long-term solution” for the industry’s carbon emissions reduction strategy; furthermore the MethaShip partners found methanol can offer a “dramatic” improvement in emissions reduction across multiple ship types once IMO has established the statutory framework conditions necessary for an industry-wide reduction of CO2 emissions.

MethaShip project leader Daniel Sahnen of Meyer Werft said “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.

“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.”

Methanol Institute chief representative Europe Eelco Dekker said “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. 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.”

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

MethaShip’s key conclusions include:

  • The properties of methanol surpass other alternative fuels in shipping.
  • The major benefit is 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.

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