CMA CGM turns to Wärtsilä for methanol-fuelled auxiliary engines

Technology group Wärtsilä has won a contract to supply methanol-fuelled auxiliary engines for the French shipping company CMA CGM.

Image credit: Wärtsilä

The engines have been ordered for six 15,000 TEU container vessels which are being built at the Dalian Shipbuilding yard in China. The order was booked by Wärtsilä in Q2 2023.

The six container vessels will be the first CMA CGM vessels ordered to operate on methanol fuel as the company pursues investment in alternative fuels to decarbonize its operations.

CMA CGM signed a massive deal worth $3 billion earlier this year, ordering twelve 15,000 TEU methanol dual-fuel powered large container ships and four 23,000 TEU LNG dual-fuel powered container vessels, from China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC).

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“Our goal is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. By fitting our future fleet with methanol systems, we will be making a serious contribution towards achieving this target. For this reason, we require the experience and technological leadership that Wärtsilä provides in the development of reliable engines capable of operating with new, sustainable marine fuels,” said Xavier Leclercq, Vice-President of CMA SHIPS.

“We have worked closely with CMA CGM for many years, with both our companies sharing a commitment to decarbonising marine operations. We are, therefore, honoured to have been selected to supply the methanol-fuelled engines for these newbuild vessels. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with CMA CGM on creating more responsible, more efficient, and more sustainable transportation solutions for the industry,” said Roger Holm, President of Wärtsilä’s Marine Power business.

For each of the vessels, the full Wärtsilä scope includes three six-cylinder and one seven-cylinder Wärtsilä 32M engines fitted with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems.

The equipment is scheduled for delivery commencing in late 2024, and the vessels are expected to be delivered in autumn 2025.

The order is being revealed on the back of a recent partnership between Wärtsilä and Swedish ferry operator Stena Line on the conversion of some of the shipping company’s vessels to methanol fuel.

The conversions will include the fuel supply system and engine modifications, as well as integrating the new installations with the ships’ existing systems.

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Methanol is fast emerging as a prominent fuel choice in the maritime industry’s collective efforts to decarbonize and embrace sustainable practices. Its rising popularity can be attributed to several key factors, such as its drop-in characteristics enabling seamless integration into existing infrastructure and engines, ease of handling and storage, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.