Methanol bunkering trifecta for CSSC

Stena Pro Marine;
Illsutration(Methanol-powered Stena Pro Marine; Image credit: Stena Bulk

China Shipbuilding Hengyu Energy (Shanghai), a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), has completed the bunkering of three methanol-powered product tankers built by Guangzhou Shipyard International.

The 49,900-ton tankers were fueled with a total of 240 tons of methanol, a major milestone for the Chinese methanol fuelling track record.

CSSC Hengyu Energy has been active in the field of new energy marine gas/ship fuel bunkering business since January 2020. It started looking into the methanol bunkering potential in October 2021, seeing that it is rapidly developing into the most feasible, low-carbon, and low-cost alternative to conventional marine fuel.

Methanol bunkering is still in its early stages of development, with very limited industry regulations in place across the globe. Hence, CSSC sees the development of its onshore methanol bunkering equipment combined with the group’s engineering know-how as a major industry breakthrough and a competitive advantage.

The methanol bunkering system itself comprises an unloading hose that transfers pressurized methanol in liquid form to the receiving ship via a ship-to-shore connection. The filling station can work on two tankers simultaneously and its maximum filling capacity is 60 tons/hour.

CSSC Hengyu Energy is currently working on the compilation of the “Guidelines for Methanol Fueling of Ships” and the related standards with the aim of building the technical level of expertise related to bunkering operations and accelerating the development and uptake of methanol-fuelled ships.

 Guangzhou Shipyard International Co Ltd (GSI) has been hired by Proman Stena Bulk, a joint venture (JV) between methanol producer Proman and Stena Bulk, to build six IMOIIMeMAX dual-fuel MR tankers powered by methanol. The shipbuilder delivered the first one, Stena Pro Patria, to its owner in June 2022, followed by the delivery of Stena Pro Marine in July.

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One more vessel Stena Promise is also due for delivery later this year.

In August, the two fully operational methanol-fuelled tankers became the first vessels to bunker methanol in Ulsan, South Korea. Stena Pro Patria and Stena Pro Marine were each refueled with over 2,000 tonnes of methanol during the bunkering operation.

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Methanol is already available at over 100 ports worldwide, including at all major bunkering hubs.

The key benefits of methanol include its density, which doesn’t affect the load capacity of ships, the fact that it is relatively safe to bunker, and that it has an attractive price. It is believed that methanol can reduce sulfur oxides by 99%, nitrogen oxides by 80%, and carbon emissions by 25% compared to the conventional fuel.