Expleo rolls out e-methanol fuel solution for ships

Expleo, a global engineering, technology and consultancy service provider, has developed a closed-loop e-methanol fuel solution for shipping that is said to deliver a 92% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and OPEX savings of £1.4 million (around $1.6 million) a year, per vessel.

The company developed the solution during its feasibility study into clean power propulsion systems, funded through the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Clean Marine Demonstration Competition (CMDC).

The study is detailed in the new white paper named ‘Clean Green Marine – a breakthrough for global shipping‘.

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Expleo modelled its ‘system-of-systems’ solution on the multi-tasking Bibby Wavemaster 1, a vessel used to service offshore wind farms.

According to Jonathan Taylor, VP of Marine at Expleo, the solution uses a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) partnered with a carbon capture and storage system, enabling a vessel to use its captured CO2 and green hydrogen to synthesise e-methanol, thus achieving the desired reduction in GHG emissions.

“The green hydrogen in the solution can be produced at offshore wind farms, from surplus electrical energy or supplied in-port – ensuring the closed-loop remains as sustainable as possible“, Taylor explains.

Moreover, the solution generates financial, logistical and environmental benefits as it allows the marine industry to make its own fuel and removes the need for costly processing and transportation.

“In addition, we’ve been able to demonstrate that this solution would achieve a 92% reduction in GHG emissions in the model vessel – delivering the much-needed breakthrough on emissions and supporting the creation of green shipping corridors, as outlined in the Clydebank Declaration“, Taylor said.

Jeff Hoyle, EVP of Aero Space and Defence at Expleo added that, as a replacement for diesel generators, the solution can be incorporated into new build designs offering up to 100% reduction in GHG emissions.

Expleo’s study also showed that the closed-loop e-methanol fuel solution delivered OPEX reductions of £1.4m a year (around $1.6 million), per ship and a projected payback period of around four years on a retrofit, for the vessel used in the model.

The solution, developed for sharing with the open market, supports the DfT’s goal to commercialise and accelerate the decarbonisation of the maritime sector and the company is now working with several partners to explore the scalability of this system.

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