Green Maritime Methanol Project

Green Maritime Methanol Plans Tests with Spark-ignited Engine

The Green Maritime Methanol consortium reviews the possibilities for renewable methanol as a marine fuel. Tests with a spark-ignited engine and research into operational aspects are planned for next year. In addition, 2020 will also see the realisation of methanol-powered ship designs.

Green Maritime Methanol started in January 2019. Commenting on what has been done so far, Jorrit Harmsen of TNO says: ‘As a first step in the project, an overview was made of previous research on application of methanol in maritime shipping, including technical application, supply chain development and a comparison to other possible future fuels. As a second step, an analysis was made on the impact of the introduction of methanol on the operational profiles of ships in different market segments, based on input provided by ship owners in the consortium. Furthermore, an analysis was made on the potential market for methanol from the port point of view.’

Tests with Spark-ignited Engine

Professor Robert van de Ketterij of Netherlands Defence Academy (NLDA) and his team will now begin a series of tests on a spark-ignited engine at the premises of Pon Power in Papendrecht early January 2020. The first compression ignition tests are scheduled early March 2020. After installation of a new internal combustion engine in the laboratory of NLDA in Den Helder, a last series of experiments will be conducted late 2020 until early 2021.

Research into Operational Aspects

At the same time, TNO will be working on the operational aspects of using methanol as a marine fuel, including storage capacity, range, bunker volume, bunker frequency, bunker mode, safety aspects, but also fuel and retrofitting cost.

‘These will be aligned with analysis of shipping segments and routes to identify promising market segments,’ says Erwin Zomer of TNO. ‘Second, we dive deeper into bunkering strategies, concepts and procedures. Finally, we analyse the methanol supply chain, including an upstream analysis of the different feedstocks: fossil, biomass and power-to-fuel. We also assess production and storage capacity in relation to demand for maritime fuel use.’

Methanol-powered Ship Designs

As from 2020, the information of the research conducted will be included in various methanol-powered ship designs and their technical, economic and logistical feasibility will be evaluated. So far, nine vessels have been selected. These include new designs, newbuilds and existing ships of Boskalis, Van Oord, the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) and Wagenborg Shipping.

Sector-wide Consortium

The Green Maritime Methanol consortium is continually expanding. Latest additions to the consortium are ship owner Arklow Shipping and Belgian dredging and offshore wind contractor DEME. Other members include research institutes TNO, TU Delft, NLDA and Marin, other ship owners such as Boskalis, the Royal Netherlands Navy, Van Oord and Wagenborg Shipping and shipbuilders Damen Shipyards, Feadship and Royal IHC.

The Green Maritime Methanol project is supported by TKI Maritime and the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.