According to Rolls-Royce, green methanol has the potential to shape the energy transition, and onboard a vessel, it requires significantly less space than other alternatives such as hydrogen for fuel cells or batteries with the same range.
s the company says, a high-speed methanol-fuelled engine for the marine industry is one of many solutions that form its net zero strategy and is currently being developed by its mtu brand.
We are already using methanol as a fuel on a daily basis in thermodynamic tests with our technology demonstrator on the test bench
explains Mathias Müller, Technical Project Manager for Development Projects at Rolls-Royce’s Power Systems.
A major plus for ramping up the new technology will be its ability to build on existing infrastructure for methanol, with Mr. Müller adding that “dealing with conventionally produced methanol as a chemical feedstock is now well established in ports and other areas, so switching to e-methanol as a fuel presents comparatively fewer challenges than with other e-fuels.”
The mtu engine is intended to set new standards in green shipping and has the potential to be an industry game-changer when solutions of this type surge in demand in the second half of the 2020s.
Presenting the project last December, Denise Kurtulus, Vice President Global Marine at Rolls-Royce Power Systems underlined its importance:
With the new development of mtu methanol engines, we want to lead the way as pioneers in the marine industry
Already, Rolls-Royce is working with German yacht and shipbuilder Lürssen to develop a methanol-fuelled propulsion system.
Alongside internal combustion engines, fuel cells will also play a vital role in providing power for large ships, mentions Rolls-Royce. Powered by hydrogen, fuel cells produce no harmful emissions such as CO2, nitrogen oxides or particulates, and have a very high level of efficiency.
Likewise, e-methanol shares the versatility to become one of the most important fuels of the future beyond commercial shipping. The fuel can be used in combustion engines using the diesel principle, or with the help of a reformer to produce electrical energy in fuel cells.
Each of these developments has its own strengths that are particularly important for the respective customer
stated Ms. Kurtulus.