Green Maritime Methanol Project

Green Maritime Methanol starts engine test programme

The Green Maritime Methanol consortium studies the possibilities for renewable methanol as a marine fuel. In a next step in the research, the test programme of an engine running on 100 per cent methanol has now begun.

Green methanol is an important candidate as a future fuel for the shipping industry. It is widely available, can be produced in a sustainable way, is easily stored on board of ships and can be burned in engines with minor modifications.

Engine test programme

In January 2020, Pon Power started its engine testing programme with a Caterpillar 3508 spark ignited high speed gas engine. With customised cylinder heads and a customised engine control management system, the engine operated on one hundred per cent methanol as a fuel. The tests were performed successfully and the test setup enables the researchers to study questions with regard to optimisation of ignition timing, lubricating requirements, emissions of for example CO2 and NOx.

In the coming months, Pon Power and the Netherlands’ Defence Academy will continue to perform more engine tests on this Caterpillar 3508 engine.

NLDA MAN engine tests

The Netherlands’ Defence Academy (NLDA) is also preparing a test programme for their MAN engine (type4L20/27). These tests include methanol injection direct in the cylinder blended with diesel, which acts as pilot fuel for igniting the mixture. The tests are planned to include both a mixture stabilised by an emulsifier and a mixture blended mechanically.

In the longer run, tests are also planned with methanol intake via the air inlet and ignition using diesel injected direct in the cylinder.

The behaviour of several diesel, methanol and emulsifier compositions is currently being studied in collaboration with TNO Eindhoven and the Netherlands’ Navy Chemical Laboratory in Den Helder.

At a later stage, tests are planned with methanol intake via the air inlet and ignition using diesel directly injected into the cylinder. During 2020 more engine tests will be executed, providing essential data for several future ship designs and propulsion trains on board.

Green Maritime Methanol partners

Green Maritime Methanol now has a list of partners which includes: Arklow Shipping, BioMCN, Royal Boskalis, Bureau Veritas, C-Job Naval Architects, Damen Shipyards, Defence Material Organisation, DEME, Feadship, Helm Proman, Royal IHC, the Netherlands Defence Academy (NLDA), Royal Association of Netherlands’ Shipowners (KVNR), Lloyd’s Register, MARIN, Marine Service Noord (MSN), Maritime Knowledge Centre (MKC), Methanol Institute, MTU, Pon Power, Port of Amsterdam, Port of Rotterdam, Ministry of Infrastructure and Water management (Rijksrederij), TNO, TU Delft, Ghent University, Van Oord, Netherlands Association of Importers of Combustion Engines (VIV), Royal Wagenborg and Wärtsilä.

The project is supported by “TKI Maritiem” and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and runs until December 2020.

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

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