MethaShip: Renewable Methanol Is ‘Fuel with a Future’

Cruise shipIllustration. Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license

Renewable methanol offers a long term solution for the passenger shipping industry’s carbon emission reduction strategy, the findings of the MethaShip research project showed.

The MethaShip partners 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 ship owners and passengers alike,” MethaShip Project Leader, Daniel Sahnen of MEYER WERFT, said.

“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.”

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 included 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,” Methanol Institute Chief Representative Europe, Eelco Dekker, said.

“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 the Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft, Lloyd’s Register, MEYER WERFT and associate partners Caterpillar, Helm AG and MAN Diesel & Turbo and was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

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