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MPA blueprint prepares marine fuels sector for multi-fuel bunkering transition

Manifold Times provides a summary of the ‘Future Marine Fuels, Bunkering Standards and Infrastructure’ section of the 64-page document.




Future marine fuels adoption framework

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on Wednesday (9 March) introduced the Maritime Singapore Decarbonisation Blueprint: Working Towards 2050 document.

Bunkering publication Manifold Times provides a curated summary of the ‘Future Marine Fuels, Bunkering Standards and Infrastructure’ section, which specifies MPA’s plans for getting Singapore’s marine refuelling sector ready for a multi-fuel bunkering transition.

Future Maritime Energy Mix

Based on current industry pilots and feasibility studies, MPA believes biofuels and liquified natural gas (LNG) will be the likely interim or transitional fuels used in the near term.

Biofuels, which scored well from the perspective of readiness of supply, infrastructure and maturity of technology, and electrification have been identified as the most viable energy options for harbour craft operating within Singapore.

While not favouring any particular fuel type, MPA expects hydrogen and its carriers (including ammonia, e-methanol) as well as bio-LNG to potentially play important roles in the decarbonisation of international shipping in the mid to long term.

Overview of present assessment of low zero carbon fuels

Moving forward, MPA will focus on seven anchors to facilitate the transition towards low and zero-carbon bunker fuels, namely: (i) technology trials and R&D, (ii) supply, (iii) regulations and standards development, (iv) demand, (v) financing, (vi) talent and skill development, and (vii) international collaboration and partnerships.

Technology Trials and R&D

MPA is actively collaborating with industry partners to conduct feasibility studies and pilot trials. Ongoing collaborations include:

ongoing collaborations across various fuel types

Supply – Bunkering, Storage and Distribution

MPA envisages some existing infrastructure to be retrofitted, whilst investments into new infrastructure will allow the scaling up of fuel supply in line with shipping’s future demand for various low and zero-carbon fuels.

To support first movers, MPA is prepared to explore co-funding supply assets for low and zero-carbon fuel solutions by developing an ammonia bunkering ecosystem in Singapore through a pilot programme.

It will comprise of pilot trials, testing bunkering procedures, development of bunkering infrastructure, and honing of operational experiences and capabilities in ammonia bunkering.

Regulations and Standards Development

MPA is working to develop bunkering guidelines for future fuels in ports, such as through the Future Fuels Port Network, to enable the safe transport and bunkering of low and zero-emission fuels.

For ammonia, the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD), setup by MPA and six founding partners in July 2021 has selected classification society DNV to lead a study to define a robust set of safety guidelines and operational envelopes that will establish the basis of a regulatory sandbox for ammonia bunkering trials at two local Singapore sites.

GCMD will also set up an Industry Consultation and Alignment Panel to solicit inputs in response to the findings and recommendations from the study.

In the longer term, MPA also plans to work with stakeholders to develop a set of Technical Reference guidelines on the safe bunkering of ammonia and will partner international partners to achieve harmonised global standards.

Demand – Market Structure and Policy

Given the potential future adoption of hydrogen and its carriers in the maritime industry, MPA is working with various government agencies to assess the land-take, infrastructure and resource needs to build the ecosystem needed to trial the import, storage, distribution, and transportation of hydrogen.

MPA will also partner the agencies to study the demand projections, regulatory incentives, and safety standards for future fuels across different sectors in Singapore.


MPA is working with MAS and industry partners to develop Singapore as a green maritime financing hub and expand the suite of green financing options.

This will increase accessibility to sustainability-linked financing for the development of low and zero-carbon fuel solutions.

MPA aims to establish Singapore as a green maritime finance hub

Talent and Skill Development

Singapore’s efforts in maritime decarbonisation are projected to create and upskill a total of 1,200 sustainability-related jobs over the next ten years. This figure is expected to increase over time, as more green innovative technologies mature and the industry transits to meet IMO targets in 2030 and 2050.

MPA will work with industry partners to identify and map out emerging job roles and skills needs, and support enterprises to equip Singapore’s maritime workforce with the necessary skills and knowledge to support the development of a low and zero-carbon bunkering hub in Singapore.

MPA will also be providing co-funding support to employers and employees to ensure Singapore’s maritime workforce has the necessary relevant skills and knowledge in the domain of maritime decarbonisation.

International Partnerships

Together with the Port of Rotterdam and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Japan, MPA signed a Memorandum of Cooperation in October 2020 to form the Future Fuels Port Network.

The FFPN has developed a roadmap to explore the harmonisation of standards for the future marine fuels and pool the knowledge and network of various members to spur the development of future fuels, including the coordination of possible joint bunkering pilot runs with identified shipping lines between ports.

In June 2021, Singapore and Australia announced the formation of a “Low-Emissions Maritime and Shipping Initiative”. As part of the initiative, Australia and Singapore have each committed $10 million to support demonstrations and commercial scale projects, through delivery partners for low emission fuels and technologies for international maritime and port operations.

Related: Singapore: MPA maritime decarbonisation blueprint sets target for bunkering sector
Related: MPA and partners establish Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation
Related: DNV selected to lead ‘pioneering’ ammonia bunkering safety study in Singapore
Related: SIBCON 2020: Singapore enters memorandum of cooperation on future fuels port network


Photo credit and source: Maritime Singapore Decarbonisation Blueprint: Working Towards 2050
Published: 11 March, 2022

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Kambara Kisen orders methanol dual-fuel bulker from Tsuneishi Shipbuilding

Firm ordered a 65,700-dwt methanol dual-fuel dry bulk carrier with Tsuneishi Shipbuilding; MOL signed a basic agreement on time charter for the newbuilding that is slated to be delivered in 2027.





Kambara Kisen orders methanol dual-fuel bulker from Tsuneishi Shipbuilding

Japanese shipowner Kambara Kisen has ordered a 65,700-dwt methanol dual-fuel dry bulk carrier newbuilding from Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd, according to Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) on Wednesday (20 September).

MOL said it signed a basic agreement on time charter for the newbuilding that is slated to be delivered in 2027. 

The vessel will be designed to use e-methanol produced primarily by synthesising recovered CO2 and hydrogen produced using renewable energy sources, and bio-methanol derived from biogas. 

The vessel's design maximises cargo space while ensuring sufficient methanol tank capacity set to allow the required navigational distance assuming various routes, at the same time maximising cargo space. 

MOL added the vessel is expected to serve mainly in the transport of biomass fuels from the east coast of North America to Europe and the U.K. and within the Pacific region, as well as grain from the east coast of South America and the U.S. Gulf Coast to Europe and the Far East.

Details on the time-charter contract:

Shipowner: Kambara Kisen wholly owned subsidiary
Charterer: MOL Drybulk Ltd.
Charter period 2027: -

Details on the newbuilding methanol dual fuel bulk carrier:

LOA: About 200 m
Breadth: About 32.25 m
Draft: About 13.80 m
Deadweight: About 65,700 MT
Hold capacity: About 81,500m3
Shipyard: Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.

Photo credit: Mitsui O.S.K. Lines
Published: 22 September, 2023

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Argus Media: Alternatives may drive methanol market growth

Driven by low-carbon policies and regulations, the transportation sector — especially the marine fuels industry — could be a source of heightened demand, according to Argus.





RESIZED Argus media

The growth of sustainable alternatives to traditional methanol production sources likely will shape the market over the next several years, industry leaders said this week at the Argus Methanol Forum.

20 September 

Driven by low-carbon policies and regulations, the transportation sector — especially the marine fuels industry — could be a source of heightened demand.

"The aim is to be net zero by 2050 but [those solutions are] expensive today and one of the main challenges to build e-methanol or bio-methanol plants is a huge queue for these pieces of equipment that aren't available," Anita Gajadhar, executive director for Swiss-based methanol producer Proman, said.

Bio-based and e-methanol plants of commercial scale, like Proman's natural gas-fed 1.9 million metric tonne/yr M5000 plant in Trinidad and Tobago, are not ready today.

"But that's not to say 10 years from now they won't be there," Gajadhar added.

Smaller projects are popping up. Dutch fuels and gas supplier OCI Global announced plans last week to double the green methanol capacity at its Beaumont, Texas, facility to 400,000 t/yr and will add e-methanol to production for the first time. Production will use feedstocks such as renewable natural gas (RNG), green hydrogen and biogas.

The globally oversupplied methanol market will not get any major supply additions starting in 2024 until 2027. But that oversupply will not last long, Gajadhar said.

Global demand has slowed this year, driven by stagnate economic growth and higher interest rates, according to industry observers.

As much as half of methanol demand is tied to GDP growth, with total methanol demand estimates at 88.9mn t globally in 2023. This is essentially flat from 2022, but up from 88.3m t in 2021 and 87.7mn t in 2020, Dave McCaskill, vice-president of methanol and derivatives for Argus Media's consulting service, said.

Demand is not expected to rebound to 2019 levels of 89.6mn t until 2024 or 2025, he added.

The period of oversupply combined with lackluster demand places methanol in a transition period, Gajadhar said, which opens the door for sustainable feedstock alternatives to shape market growth.

Danish container shipping giant Maersk and French marine logistics company CMA-CGM announced earlier this week a partnership to drive decarbonization in shipping. The partnership seeks to develop fuel and operations standards for bunkering with alternative fuels. The companies will develop net-zero solutions, including new technology and alternative fuels.

Maersk has previously ordered dual-fuel methanol-powered vessels and CMA-CGM LNG-propelled vessels.

The demand for alternative feedstock-derived fuels is there, but the ability to scale-up such production lags. Certified lower-carbon methanol produced using carbon capture and sequestration — also known as blue methanol— can ramp up much more quickly, according to Gajadhar.

By Steven McGinn

Photo credit and source: Argus Media
Published: 22 September, 2023

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Royal Caribbean completes over 12 weeks of bio bunker fuel testing in Europe

Firm expanded its biofuel testing this summer in Europe to two additional ships — Royal Caribbean International’s “Symphony of the Seas” and Celebrity Cruises’ “Celebrity Apex”.





Royal Caribbean completes over 12 weeks of bio bunker fuel testing in Europe

Royal Caribbean Group on Tuesday (19 September) said it successfully completed over 12 consecutive weeks of biofuel testing in Europe. 

Royal Caribbean International’s Symphony of the Seas became the first ship in the maritime industry to successfully test and use a biofuel blend in Barcelona to meet part of her fuel needs. 

The company confirmed onboard technical systems met operational standards, without quality or safety concerns, demonstrating the biofuel blend is a reliable “drop in” supply of lower emission energy that ships can use to set sail across Europe and beyond. 

The tests across Europe also provided valuable data to understand the availability and scalability of biofuel in the region, the firm added. 

Jason Liberty, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group, said: “This is a pivotal moment for Royal Caribbean Group’s alternative fuel journey.”

“Following our successful trial of biofuels this summer, we are one step closer to bringing our vision for net-zero cruising to life. As we strive to protect and promote the vibrant oceans we sail, we are determined to accelerate innovation and improve how we deliver vacation experiences responsibly.”

President of the Port of Barcelona, Lluís Salvadó, said: “Royal Caribbean’s success is a clear example of how commitment to innovation makes possible the development of solutions to decarbonise the maritime sector.”

“In this case, it involves the cruise sector and focuses on biofuels, an area in which the Port of Barcelona is already working to become an energy hub, producing and supplying zero carbon fuels, such as green hydrogen and ammonia, and of other almost zero-carbon alternative fuels, such as methanol, biofuels or synthetic fuels. Innovation and collaboration between ports and shipping companies is key to accelerate the decarbonisation of maritime transport.”

The company began testing biofuels last year and expanded the trail this summer in Europe to two additional ships — Royal Caribbean International’s Symphony of the Seas and Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Apex

The sustainable biofuel blends tested were produced by purifying renewable raw materials like waste oils and fats and combining them with fuel oil to create an alternative fuel that is cleaner and more sustainable. The biofuel blends tested are accredited by International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC), a globally recognized organization that ensures sustainability of biofuels and verifies reductions of related emissions.

With Symphony of the Seas departing from the Port of Barcelona and Celebrity Apex departing from the Port of Rotterdam, both ships accomplished multiple sailings using biofuel and contributed critical data on the fuel’s capabilities. 

“These results will help accelerate Royal Caribbean Group’s plans to continue testing the use of different types of biofuels on upcoming European sailings this fall. The company is exploring strategic partnerships with suppliers and ports to ensure the availability of biofuel and infrastructures to advance the maritime energy transition,” the firm said. 

Photo credit: Royal Caribbean Group 
Published: 22 September, 2023

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