Methanol is a safe, cost-effective alternative marine fuel. With the growing demand for cleaner marine fuel, methanol is a promising alternative fuel for ships that helps the shipping industry meet increasingly strict emissions regulations. Methanol significantly reduces emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter.
Methanol is available worldwide through existing global infrastructure. The cost to build new and convert existing vessels to run on methanol is significantly less than alternate fuel conversions.
In 2016, Waterfront Shipping Company Ltd., Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd., Marinvest/Skagerack Invest, and Westfal-Larsen Management welcomed the world’s first seven new innovative, clean-burning, fuel-efficient ocean-going vessels to the sea. These seven 50,000 dead weight tonne vessels are built with the first-of-its kind MAN B&W ME-LGI 2-stroke dual fuel engine that can run on methanol, fuel oil, marine diesel oil, or gas oil. In 2018, Waterfront Shipping, Marinvest/Skagerack Invest, IINO Kaiun Kaisha, Ltd., Mitsui & Co., Ltd., and the NYK Group announced its investment in another four dual-fuel vessels capable of running on methanol. These vessels will be delivered in 2019.
The Benefits of Methanol Marine Fuel
Methanol is a clean-burning fuel that produces fewer smog-causing emissions than conventional fuels — such as SOx, NOx and particulate matter. It can help ships meet environmental fuel regulations and improve air quality and related human health issues. Methanol marine fuel complies with the most stringent regulations in Emission Control Areas and would comply with even the most stringent future emissions regulations currently being considered.
Methanol is a cost-effective alternative marine fuel in terms of fuel storage and bunkering infrastructure costs. As a liquid fuel, only minor modifications are needed for current bunkering infrastructure to handle methanol. Similarly, the cost to convert vessels to run on methanol is significantly less than alternate fuel conversions.
Methanol is one of the top five chemical commodities shipped around the world each year. Unlike some alternative fuels, it is readily available through existing global terminal infrastructure.
Long history of safe handling
For over 100 years, methanol has been shipped globally, handled and used in a variety of applications. Risk classification societies have developed standards for methanol as a marine fuel.
Methanol is a clear, colourless liquid that quickly dissolves in water and biodegrades rapidly. The environmental effects of a large methanol spill would be much lower than those from an equivalent oil spill.
Made from various sources including renewables
Methanol is most commonly produced on a commercial scale from natural gas. It can also be produced from renewable sources such as biomass and recycled carbon dioxide and anything that is, or ever was, a plant!