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.