Carbon Sink and Rose Cay Maritime forge ties on green methanol supply chain

U.S.-based green methanol producer Carbon Sink and Jones Act-compliant shipping company Rose Cay Maritime have inked a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate the maritime sector’s shift toward low-carbon fuels.

Illustration/M/T Mari Couva Methanol Dual Fuel Vessel; Image by Waterfront Shipping

Under the terms of the MoU, the duo agreed on increasing the production of the green fuel as well as its transportation, bunkering, and storage tailored for the shipping sector.

Rose Cay Maritime will leverage its expertise in providing energy supply chain services and transportation of conventional and renewable fuels via its U.S.-owned, built, and crewed vessels to link Carbon Sink’s green methanol projects to customers by offering end-to-end logistic solutions.

Carbon Sink estimates that the collaboration will ensure a ‘cost-effective, streamlined supply chain’ as the company develops large-scale green methanol production facilities across the U.S.

The company produces eMethanol from captured CO2 from the ethanol fermentation process. It is made from carbon from the atmosphere and renewably produced hydrogen, making it carbon neutral.

“Carbon Sink is a leader in the creation of state-of-the-art green methanol plants that will help drive a material shift in the shipping industry’s decarbonization initiatives that aligns with Rose Cay’s sustainability goals,” Alex Parker, CEO of RCM, said.

“Together, we look forward to providing much-needed green methanol production and supply chain solutions to meet growing demand from the ambitious decarbonization goals of the maritime industry.”

“Rose Cay Maritime is the ideal partner to help Carbon Sink deliver our carbon-neutral fuels to our customers. Their industry knowledge and leadership in advancing the maritime energy transition will enable us to better serve the market as we expand our production capacity,” Carbon Sink CEO Steve Meyer said.

The latest deal builds on the letter of intent Carbon Sink signed with global shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk to deliver 100,000 tonnes of green methanol annually from its debut plant. The plant is slated to commence production in 2027 and Maersk is expected to purchase the full volume of fuel produced, with options for future Carbon Sink facilities.

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Strong demand signal

To date, more than 220 methanol-capable vessels are operating or under construction, representing an annual demand exceeding 6 million metric tons of green methanol.

With its low-pollution and lower carbon characteristics, methanol is considered a viable drop-in replacement fuel available in the market. This offers cost advantages in terms of upfront capital and operational expenses compared to current fuel choices.

Moreover, adopting methanol as a marine fuel supports compliance with the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 2030 carbon emission reduction target and facilitates a pathway towards achieving net carbon-neutral operations.

Although methanol has certain drawbacks, such as toxicity, high corrosiveness, low energy density, and a low flashpoint leading to increased fire and explosion hazards, it burns cleanly compared to conventional fuel oil. It produces minimal sulphur oxides, particulate matter, and soot emissions during combustion. Additionally, its lighter-than-water nature makes it highly miscible, which means it can rapidly dissolve in seawater in the event of a spill.

Considering these factors, methanol presents a suitable marine fuel option that can contribute to more sustainable shipping practices.

The Methanol Institute is monitoring over 80 production projects that aim to produce more than 8 million tons of renewable methanol annually by 2027. Presently, a significant portion of methanol demand is met through the production of brown and grey methanol, derived from coal or natural gas as feedstock. However, the successful utilization of methanol as a marine fuel depends on scaling up the production of blue and green methanol while considering CO2 life cycle accounting on an international level.

The institute is monitoring 90 such projects, which are expected to produce almost 9 million tons of methanol annually upon becoming operational (by 2027). While not all of this production will be dedicated to shipping use, some of these projects are specifically aimed at supplying methanol for the maritime industry’s sustainable fuel needs.