BUNKERSPOT: No turning back

Methanol Institutes COO Chris Chatterton wrote an article for Bunkerspot discussing methanol as a short and long-time solution for decarbonizing the shipping industry.

The shipping industry’s energy transition is picking up speed, but it has still to achieve the required momentum. This marathon process has a long way to run, but among the future fuel contenders, methanol is emerging as a short-term choice with a long-term role to play. The leadership shown by AP Moller-Maersk in ordering a series of methanol dual-fuelled ships indicates that large owners are prepared to take the decarbonisation challenge seriously. Since then, the trend line has continued upwards, recently taking a swing northward to the point that some 50 methanol dual-fuelled vessels could be ordered before the end of 2022.

With liner shipping the ideal candidate for methanol – regularly serving large ports at which supplies can be found in volume – it is not surprising that operators including CMA CGM, MSC, Pacific International Lines, X-Press Feeders, and the biggest shipping company in the world, COSCO, have either expressed interest or placed firm orders.

Methanol Fueled Pilot Boat

FASTWATER Consortium and the Swedish Maritime Administration (SMA) successfully demonstrated a pilot boat that has been converted to operate on Methanol fuel. The demonstration in Stockholm Harbour follows the successful bunkering of the vessel at the SMA pilot station in Oxelösund, Sweden, where the pilot boat will be based.

Methanol Vessels On the Water and On the Way!

Methanol-fueled vessels are on the water today, and more are on the way.  The Methanol Institute tracks global methanol vessel announcements, which are highlighted here. 

Beginning with the launch of the Stena Germanica in 2015 and the introduction of 11 chemical tankers by Methanex Waterfront Shipping in 2016-2019, and now MI member CMA CGM order of six 15,000 TEU dualfuel methanol-powered containerships, and Ocean Network Express (ONE) shipbuilding contracts with Hyundai Heavy Industries and Nihon Shipyard to construct five 13,700 teu vessels each, all for delivery in 2025.

As you will see here, there is a broad range of methanol-fueled vessels including pilot boats, tug/push boats, ferries, cruise ships, superyachts, crew transfer vessels, lift and multi-purpose ships.  We also see more methanol-compatible engines from the major OEMs, vessel designs, and class society approvals.

Ports with Available Methanol Storage Capacity

In 2020, the Methanol Institute confirmed that methanol is already available in more than 100 ports around the globe and that 47 of those ports have storage facilities in excess of 50,000 metric tons. Infiniti Research analyzed information from an initial 56 ports known to store methanol and requested information on their readiness to supply the fuel for maritime bunkering. The company also identified a further 66 ports where the storage of Methanol was already taking place.

Methanol: An Emerging Marine Fuel

Methanol is a simple, safe liquid fuel, miscible in water, and is plentiful, available globally, price competitive to MGO. It works with existing engine technologies as a drop-in or a dual fuel. It also complies with IMO2020 providing a pathway to IMO 2030 and 2050. It requires only minor modifications to current bunkering infrastructure. Read the presentation to see more benefits of using methanol as a marine fuel. 

For additional information on Methanol as a Marine Fuel, visit our additional resources page.