Berge Bulk, ABS to explore retrofitting bulker to run on methanol
American classification society ABS and Singapore-based shipping company Berge Bulk (BB) have signed a joint development project (JDP) to evaluate the feasibility of converting a bulk vessel to methanol fuel propulsion.
As disclosed, the agreement which will see BB and ABS explore the possibility of retrofitting the 300-meter-long heavy fuel oil-propelled bulk carrier Berge Mauna Kea to operate on methanol fuel.
The bulker is a 210,000t dwt bulk carrier, currently under construction at the Nihon Shipyard in Japan. Delivery is expected in mid-2024.
The six-month study is underway, and the two companies will collaborate on a broad range of subjects from the availability of methanol fuel and practicalities of bunkering to the review of technical and economic aspects of the conversion.
The project represents a significant step forward in the development of methanol as a marine fuel and underscores the growing momentum of the clean energy transition in the shipping industry.
One of the key benefits of methanol as a marine fuel is its low emissions profile. Compared to traditional marine fuels, methanol emits significantly lower levels of sulphur oxide (SOx), nitrogen oxide (NOx), and particulate matter, according to the partners.
“Retrofitting alternative fuel capability to the global fleet is going to be critical if we are to achieve our sustainability goals. This JDP is blazing a trail that many other vessels will ultimately have to travel as operators look to manage their decarbonization trajectories over a vessel’s lifespan,” said Christopher J. Wiernicki, ABS Chairman, President and CEO.
“Methanol is increasingly being recognized as a compelling alternative pathway for owners and operators. With practical benefits related to ease of storage and handling, tank-to-wake carbon intensity reduction, as well as a pathway to carbon neutrality through green methanol, methanol presents an immediate and promising solution.”
“Berge Bulk is committed to our target of achieving net zero carbon by 2025. We see methanol as one of the solutions towards these ongoing decarbonization efforts. Existing technologies are available to convert methanol for use in our engines, whilst there are also procedures for bunkering of methanol and its use onboard. As a leader in this industry, we are confident that this collaboration with ABS will accelerate our efforts towards zero carbon in this energy transition journey,” added James Marshall, CEO of Berge Bulk.
Last year, Berge Bulk carried out the first marine biofuel trial on a dry bulk carrier with Dutch fuel supplier GoodFuels.
The vessel selected for the trial was a 181,403 dwt bulk carrier, Berge Tsurugi. As informed, the bulker received a delivery of GoodFuels’ sustainable biofuel during its call to the Port of Rotterdam.