Video: Methanol has immediate benefits to support shipping’s green transition

A new video has been released by Methanol Institute (MI) and Fastwater, highlighting the benefits of methanol as a marine fuel for small craft operating in ports and inshore waters.

The film highlights the launch in late 2021 of the first pilot boat operated by the Swedish Maritime Administration (SMA) converted to run on methanol by the Fastwater consortium.

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The conversion is the first of a potential fleet conversion by the SMA, adopting methanol to lower pollution and cut carbon emissions. The demonstration, held in Stockholm, Sweden, provided a showcase for the ease and practicality of converting an existing marine engine to run on methanol, as well as the simplicity of the bunkering process.

The pilot boat runs on sustainable, renewable biomethanol provided by Södra, which transported the plant-based bio-methanol — used onboard the boat — by road to the pilot station.

With funding from the European Commission, Fastwater is a consortium of Europe’s maritime research and technology leaders engaged in a project to demonstrate the feasibility of converting existing harbour craft to methanol fuel. It focuses on high impact outcomes, employing methanol as a future-proof alternative marine fuel to create a fast track to carbon-neutral shipping.

“The reason Fastwater is focussing on methanol as an alternative fuel for shipping is because it’s a sustainable way of powering shipping and very importantly: it’s a liquid fuel – that makes things so much easier in terms of integrating the fuel in many different types of vessels,” Sebastian Verhelst, Fastwater’s coordinator, explained.

“This pilot boat is probably one of the cleanest ships on the water, world-wide because it operates on biomethanol. The effort to convert it is quite limited because there are not so many added systems – we have seen huge request for similar engines on the market,” Patrik Molander, of engine supplier ScandiNAOS said.

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“This video is a celebration of the work done by Fastwater and the SMA which demonstrates the immediate potential of methanol to help the shipping industry transition to low carbon operations. To continue to grow in uptake, alternative fuels including methanol need the support of stakeholders including local and national governments which can provide the backing for new approaches that can lower pollution and reduce carbon dioxide emissions,” Gregory Dolan, CEO, The Methanol Institute, commented.

Methanol has regulatory approval for use as a fuel by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and has been accepted by classification societies, flag and port states as well as by vessel operators and charterers as a safe, compliant and efficient marine fuel. In addition, it has a critical head start in experience-building and applicability as an alternative fuel, enabling vessel operators to move forward with emissions reduction in a phased way at low cost to Opex and Capex.

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