MKC & TNO & TU Delft: Public final report – Methanol as an alternative fuel for vessels | 2018

The international pressure to reduce ships emissions like Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Sulphur Oxides (SOx) and Particulate Matter (PM) is rising. Application of natural gas in liquefied form (LNG) offers good perspectives for larger vessels, but offers no solution for smaller vessels, mainly because of the lack of available space on board. Methanol (CH3OH or MeOH) can be used as an alternative fuel and although NOx emissions are slightly higher than with LNG, the storage is easier and the entire installation can be smaller in size and simpler than with LNG.

For vessels under 50 metres in length several challenges must be overcome in order to realise methanol as a transport fuel. Technology is available, but there is a challenge to develop technical solutions that comply with regulations and are economical attractive. Maritime transport is responsible for about 2.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Without countermeasures this share is expected to increase between 50% and 250% by 2050, depending on future economic and energy developments.

Several studies show that energy consumption and CO2 emissions can be reduced up to 75% by applying operational measures and implementing existing technologies.

Ship owners need reliable and accurate information about the effectiveness of the various technologies so that financial risks can be kept to a minimum.

Several good and extensive reports have been written on CO2 reduction in shipping. These reports were used as a basis for this research. However, new opportunities seem to emerge in a steady pace.

This reports aims to establish a coherent overview of methanol as an alternative fuel in shipping including its strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats. These developments and solutions can provide interesting opportunities for co-operation and further (fundamental) research.

This project was executed under the auspices of Netherlands Maritime Land and supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

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