European consortium to promote methanol as alternative marine fuel

A consortium of European maritime research and technology companies has launched a new project to demonstrate the feasibility of retrofit and newbuild vessels to operate on methanol as an alternative to conventional fossil fuels.

With funding from the European Commission, the Fastwater project aims to commercialise medium- and high-speed methanol-fuelled engines for shipping.

Consortium members, including original engine manufacturers, shipyards, naval architects, ship owners/operators, port and maritime authorities, classification, fuel producers, and research institutes, will demonstrate feasibility on three vessels running on methanol fuel: a harbour tug, a pilot boat, and a coast guard vessel.

A conversion concept for a river cruise ship using methanol-driven propulsion will also be developed and a universal, scalable retrofit kit for converting diesel-fuelled ships to methanol use for a wide power range (200 kW to four MW) will be validated.

In addition, Fastwater will provide training programmes for vessel crew and portside staff, develop rules and regulations for methanol marine fuel use, demonstrate the complete value chain for bunkering methanol – including net carbon neutral renewable methanol – elaborate a business plan, and identify CO2 and conventional pollutant
reductions facilitated by the next generation methanol propulsion systems.

Among the partners in the consortium are Lloyd’s Register, the Swedish Maritime Administration, German shipbuilder Meyer Werft, Methanex, and the Port of Antwerp.

Baird Maritime

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