According to Georgios Plevrakis, ABS Vice President, Global Sustainability, methanol represents a promising fuel source for the global fleet, with practical benefits related to ease of storage and handling, tank to wake carbon intensity reduction, as well as a pathway to carbon neutrality through green methanol.
After an in-depth evaluation of the emerging fuels landscape and propulsion technology by ABS, Mr. Plevrakis stated that:
Methanol presents an immediate and promising solution with practical advantages in storage, handling and carbon intensity reduction potential which is gaining traction in the market. The further development of green methanol (e.g. electrolysis and biogenic carbon) provides a viable option for carbon neutral operations
Speaking from a technical perspective, solutions for onboard usage of methanol are mature, adds Mr. Plevrakis, explaining that vessel designs have been developed and are being developed for all vessel segments.
During June, ABS published its report “Setting the Course to Low Carbon Shipping: Zero Carbon Outlook,” providing the latest analysis of the industry’s progress to low- and zero-carbon operations.
According to the report, the key benefits of methanol are that:
- It does not contain sulfur;
- It can be stored as a liquid in ambient air conditions, thus the costs for tanks and fuel-gas supply systems are greatly reduced;
- It does not produce particulate matter upon combustion.
Furthermore, the report highlights that methanol has the potential to have a very positive impact on the IMO’s strategic short-term regulations, EEXI and CII, because it produces less CO2 than other fossil fuels per ton of fuel although this is in most cases compensated due to a higher consumption as methanol has a much lower calorific value.
Methanol as a marine fuel can be considered renewable or non-renewable, depending on the feedstock used to produce it. Brown or gray methanol has relatively high carbon intensity, as it is mainly produced from coal or natural gas without the use of carbon capture technology
ABS is now working with operators around the world on methanol projects, including a series of 12 large container vessels capable of being operated on carbon-neutral methanol ordered by Maersk, which are to be built to ABS Class.
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