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OCI Global to double green methanol capacity in US to meet demand from industries

Firm will increase capacity to 400,000 mt per year in response to growing demand for green methanol from numerous high emissions industries, including road transport, shipping and industrial.

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Green methanol producer OCI Global (OCI) on Wednesday (13 September) announced plans to double its green methanol production capacity to approximately 400,000 metric tonnes (mt) per year in response to the growing demand for green methanol from numerous high emissions industries, including road transport, shipping and industrial.

The scale-up plans include entering into supply agreements for renewable natural gas (RNG) exceeding 15,000 mmbtu per day – as well as securing the waste and development rights from the City of Beaumont. 

This is OCI’s first upstream RNG production facility and production is slated to start in Q1 2025. As well as reducing carbon dioxide emissions, obtaining biogas from landfill has the benefit of using methane – which over a 20-year period, has a global warming potential that is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide – that would otherwise escape and accelerate global warming.

A critical manufacturing building block, green methanol can effectively decarbonize traditionally hard-to-abate sectors by significantly reducing the carbon footprint and emissions across a range of key value chains to power cleaner industries.

OCI currently has capacity to produce up to 200 thousand metric tons of green methanol. Offtakers include the road fuels market, where it is used as a fuel-blend to reduce emissions from petrol; as a building block in a range of industrial applications; and most recently, as a fuel for shipping.

OCI has projected growth in the green methanol market of incremental demand of more than 6 million tonnes by 2028, due to the adoption of green methanol as a shipping fuel, based on the 225 dual-fuelled methanol vessels now on order.

This summer, the first ever green methanol container vessel, owned by AP Moller Maersk, was fueled with OCI HyFuels green methanol on its maiden voyage from Korea to Copenhagen. The company also announced last month a new agreement with Xpress Feeder Lines to supply their green methanol ships at the Port of Rotterdam from 2025.

Ahmed El-Hoshy, CEO, OCI Global, said: “Today’s announcement cements OCI’s position as the leading green methanol producer globally. It also represents another milestone in our decarbonization journey as a business, and our commitment to driving the energy transition.

“It’s positive that we are starting to see industry make that commitment too. We are seeing encouraging signs with regulatory support for both ammonia and methanol in shipping, such as the EU’s FuelEU maritime regulation and the latest IMO strategy bolstering the value of low carbon and green methanol and ammonia relative to fossil fuels.”

“It is clear that both fuels will need to play an integral role to reach the IMO’s revised targets and OCI Global stands ready to supply them. However, these targets must be supported by practical mechanisms to continue to maintain momentum towards meeting global greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.”

Bashir Lebada, CEO, OCI Methanol/HyFuels, said: “We continue to see more and more realisation that methanol is the transportation sector’s most viable solution and the easiest way to transport and use renewable hydrogen today.”

“It is a solution that is available now and our focus is on continuing to scale technologies whether through our projects or our supply partners, to ensure that our capacities continue to grow alongside demand. We are seeing increasing pull from road fuel markets due to the delay in EV adoption and charging station build-out and while marine demand has been growing at a very fast pace, we have yet to see the impact of retrofits which should end up being a larger segment than new-builds.

“E-methanol will also be a new product for us, and with the RFNBO mandates in the coming years, will quickly become the blendstock of choice with gasoline to ensure compliance. We are also very excited to announce the expansion of our 13-year partnership with the City of Beaumont, this landfill will bolster our product portfolio with additional green fuels right in our backyard and add to our existing supply portfolio of RNG.”

Roy West, Mayor of Beaumont, said: “We’re pleased to partner with OCI on this exciting project, which further develops our long-term relationship with OCI as an industrial employer in Beaumont. This joint project will create societal and environmental benefits, including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and reduction in other air emissions resulting from landfill operations.”

“This agreement is considered a win-win agreement for the city and OCI, as it allows the City to generate an additional revenue stream from its landfill operations while OCI will be able to use the renewable natural gas for its business.”

Photo credit: OCI Global
Published: 15 September, 2023

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Methanol

Methanol Institute: Innovative developments and strategic collaborations (Week 27, 1-7 July 2024)

This week, the maritime industry made pivotal advancements in methanol fuel technology and forged strategic partnerships, reinforcing the maritime industry’s shift towards sustainable fuel alternatives.

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The Methanol Institute, provides an exclusive weekly commentary on developments related to the adoption of methanol as a bunker fuel, including significant related events recorded during the week, for the readers of bunkering publication Manifold Times:

Groundwork for the energy transition is seeing more and more shipping companies and their stakeholders prepare for lower carbon operations. Contracts are being placed for new vessels, propulsion systems and the infrastructure that will enable wider use of methanol. Owners continue to put their faith in alternatives with orders for 49 methanol fuel ships ordered in the first half of 2024.

Methanol marine fuel related developments for Week 27 of 2024:

Blue World Completes Testing of Methanol Fuel Cell System for Ships

Date: July 1, 2024

Key Points: Blue World Technologies has completed testing on its 200 kW high-temperature PEM fuel cell system for ships, which runs on methanol. The system, boasting up to 55% electrical efficiency at the commercial stage, promises fuel savings of 20-30%. This breakthrough is set to significantly advance maritime decarbonization. A 1 MW pilot system will be installed on one of AP Moller-Maersk's methanol-fueled boxships in the first half of 2026, marking a key step in reducing emissions in the shipping industry.

Ta San Shang Marine to Construct Third Methanol-Ready Service Operation Vessel

Date: July 1, 2024

Key Points: Ta San Shang Marine Co. Ltd., a joint venture between Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) and Ta Tong Marine, has signed an agreement with Damen Group for the construction of its third methanol-ready service operation vessel (SOV). This new vessel, designed to be methanol-ready, will enhance the company's commitment to adopting methanol as a future marine fuel. The agreement underscores the industry's shift towards sustainable and environmentally friendly marine operations.

 41% of Tonnage Ordered in 1H24 Equipped for Alternative Fuels

Date: July 2, 2024

Key Points: According to Clarksons Research, 41% of the tonnage ordered in the first half of 2024 can run on alternative fuels. This includes 109 orders for LNG-fueled ships, 49 for methanol, 15 for ammonia, 42 for LPG, and 4 for hydrogen. While 54% of tonnage orders were alternatively fueled in the same period in 2022, about 50% of the current total order book is capable of using alternative fuels, indicating a strong shift towards sustainable shipping practices.

Consort Bunkers Forms Alternative Fuels Partnership

Date: July 3, 2024

Key Points: Consort Bunkers, along with ClassNK, Yanmar Asia (Singapore) Corporation, and Taiko Asia Pacific, has signed a memorandum of understanding to develop infrastructure for alternative fuels. This includes the construction of four 7,999 DWT tankers by Cosco Shipping Heavy Industry, capable of bunkering biofuels and methanol. In total, Consort Bunkers has ordered 13 tankers, highlighting a commitment to regional and global implementation of alternative fuel use.

Headway Technology to Equip Four Methanol-Fueled Bulk Carriers with Fuel Supply Systems

Date: July 4th, 2024

Key Points: Headway Technology has signed an agreement to provide methanol fuel supply systems for four 89,000 DWT bulk carriers for Fujian Guohang Ocean Shipping. These systems will include bunkering, transfer, fuel treatment, nitrogen systems, and control and security systems. The vessels, built by Wuhu Shipyard, are scheduled for delivery in 2025-26. Additionally, Headway will supply a methanol fuel system for Fratelli Cosulich's new methanol tanker, due in late 2025.

 

Photo credit: Methanol Institute
Published: 12 July, 2024

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Additives

Infineum: Using liquid methanol fuels in heavy-duty and marine engines

Paul Cooper and Joanna Hughes from Gane Energy talk about advantages of using liquid methanol fuels in internal combustion engines and how fuel additives can help to overcome challenges of using methanol as a fuel.

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Infineum marine fuels additives receive performance recognition from Lloyd’s Register

International fuel additives company Infineum on Tuesday (9 July) published an article on its Insight website of Paul Cooper and Joanna Hughes from Gane Energy, sharing about the advantages of using liquid methanol fuels in internal combustion engines and how fuel additives can help to overcome some of the challenges of using methanol:

End users and OEMs in both the maritime and heavy-duty vehicle/engine industries are exploring the ways alternative fuels, such as methanol, ammonia and hydrogen, can help them to meet tightening emissions regulations and decarbonisation targets. 

Gane Energy, a fuel development and licensing company based in Melbourne, Australia, has a vision to provide a clear pathway to carbon neutrality through a cost-effective, readily available, low-risk alternative to diesel which can leverage existing infrastructure. To that end it has developed a liquid methanol fuel, for use in heavy-duty and marine engines, that it is now working to commercialise. Gane Energy's fuel is made from methanol (CH3OH), water,  a small amount of di-methyl ether (CH3OCH3) along with performance fuel additives. So, given Gane Energy's work in this area, we asked them what they consider to be the environmental benefits of using liquid methanol fuel instead of diesel fuel or marine fuel oils?

Joanna said: “Now methanol is the simplest alcohol. It does not have any carbon-carbon bonds and fundamentally does not produce any soot when it combusts. Furthermore, the temperature of combustion of methanol in an engine is lower than with the classic long chain hydrocarbon fuels. And that lower temperature of combustion means that you produce dramatically lower NOx.”

“And that has a natural advantage of course in terms of emissions to air, but what it also means is that for end users or customers, the exhaust aftertreatment that you have to carry on your ship or implement with your engine are significantly reduced. Or in some cases, for example using Gane Fuel, they can be avoided altogether and still meet regulated emissions levels.”

“If methanol is made from renewable sources, then effectively the CO2 that is captured in the fuel is then released when it's burned in the ship. And so from a net basis, the methanol as a fuel is carbon neutral, so not adding any net CO2 to the atmosphere.”

One of the challenges associated with methanol use, particularly in marine applications, has been the need to use a pilot fuel to ignite it in the engine. While the majority of the energy to power the vessel is supplied by methanol this approach still uses a significant quantity of conventional fuel, which means it is not ideal in a world looking to decarbonise. But, as Paul explains, progress has been made on this front and, by using a different approach, they have been able to remove the need for a pilot fuel.

Paul, said: “So the approach we've taken is that we take a small quantity of the methanol in Gane Fuel and we pass it over a catalyst and we convert it through that process to dimethyl ether.”

“What we do with that is we put that in the inlet air as a fumigant, and that comes in with the air and creates the conditions that when the piston rises and that creates the heat, the DME ignites, and then the methanol, which is in our fuel, is supplied under high pressure into the cylinder, and that creates the event to enable the methanol to combust. So we achieve through the use of Gane Fuel, a combustion of methanol without requiring a diesel pilot fuel.”

Methanol vs hydrogen and ammonia

Methanol is not the only alternative fuel option available to the maritime and commercial vehicle industries. Ammonia and hydrogen are also being explored by many OEMs as potential options to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and it looks likely that we can expect a multi-fuel, multi technology future. Currently, Joanna estimates that some one billion tonnes a year of diesel-like products are used, that could potentially be substituted with such alternatives. To achieve the progress that is needed in terms of decarbonisation, she believes it's important that there are multiple solutions available. With this in mind we asked her to share some of the benefits methanol has vs hydrogen and ammonia.

“I think one of the most important points is the technology readiness level. Methanol is in use today as a marine fuel, and so our speed at which we can transition to net carbon neutrality is greatly enhanced through adopting and continuing to accelerate the adoption of methanol in these industries,” said Joanna. 

“I think the other point in terms of methanol versus ammonia and hydrogen that's important to bring out is the supply chain. Methanol is a liquid at ambient conditions. So in terms of the fuel suppliers, but also very importantly in terms of the end users, the ability to transport and store methanol is significantly easier and lower cost than the same task as required for ammonia or hydrogen.”

Future directions

There has been a good uptake of methanol in the marine industry and the order book for new methanol capable vessels is growing. Data published by DNV shows that almost 16% of the ships on order are alternatively fuelled vessels with methanol out in front in new contracts in the last 12 months. However, cutting the data by how much the ship can carry (DWT), excluding LNG carriers, then almost 32% on order are alternatively fuelled vessels.

Infineum: Using liquid methanol fuels in heavy-duty and marine engines

But, it’s not only these new vessels that can benefit from the emissions reduction benefits that running on methanol brings. Joanna says that the fact ships can be retrofitted to run on methanol is important for two reasons.

“One is in terms of the potential to accelerate our transition to carbon neutrality, and the second is the efficiency or the economic efficiency, but also in terms of materials of being able to leverage existing infrastructure. And by that I mean existing infrastructure in terms of a liquid fuel to transport and store. And also in terms of the existing infrastructure in terms of the engines,” said Joanna. 

Additives support alternative fuels

As the use of methanol grows in various transportation applications, the use of high quality fuel additives will be vital to ensure hardware protection.

“Methanol as a fuel offers many advantages in terms of the combustion properties, the emissions. It does give rise to certain issues that need to be addressed, specifically lubricity and potentially corrosivity as well. And I think these are the two key areas where additives can be helpful,” said Paul.

Lubricity improver additives create a protective film on the metal surfaces, which reduces friction and wear. This not only ensures smoother engine operation but also prolongs the lifespan of engine components. Corrosion inhibitor additives form a barrier between the methanol fuel and the surface of the metal to prevent corrosion-related damage.

Alternative fuels, such as methanol, ammonia and hydrogen will have a key role to play in the drive to decarbonise the internal combustion engine. Infineum is fully committed to ensuring that suitable fuel and lubricant additives are ready to support the introduction of these alternative fuels to the global market.

Note: Watch the videos featuring Paul Cooper and Joanna Hughes from Gane Energy and read full article here

 

Photo credit: Infineum
Published: 11 July 2024

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Interview: Auramarine eyes significant market share of methanol fuel supply systems

Tuomas Häkkinen, Director Business Line Projects, discusses methanol marine fuel engines, decarbonisation-related market opportunities and how Auramarine’s solutions stand out from the competition.

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Tuomas Häkkinen, Director Business Line Projects, Auramarine

Tuomas Häkkinen, who was recently appointed as Director Business Line Projects of Finland-based fuel supply systems provider Auramarine Ltd, discussed with bunkering publication Manifold Times methanol marine fuel engines, decarbonisation-related market opportunities for the firm and how Auramarine solutions stand out from the competition:

MT: What is the forecasted uptake potential for methanol marine fuel engines by the global merchant fleet in light of IMO 2030/2050? 

This is difficult to estimate as the marine industry is changing rapidly. While there are a number of new low and zero-carbon fuels in the mix, the future and main make-up of the bunkering supply chain within shipping will likely comprise of a combination of ammonia, biofuels and methanol.

It is difficult to forecast the precise number but leading classification society Lloyd’s Register, in its recent paper ‘The future of maritime fuels’ (September 2023), predicted bio and e-methanol would have a combined market share of total shipping fuel by 2050 of 13.4%.  However, the most optimistic scenario projects a market share for bio-methanol of 43% by 2050.

There is, therefore, a lot of potential for the uptake of methanol, both in newbuilds and retrofits. It’s currently one of the more mature and advanced alternative fuels and is easy to adopt. With this foundation, we aim to reach significant market share of methanol fuel supply systems both in newbuilds and retrofits.

MT: What is the number one misunderstanding about methanol marine fuel engines that you would like to debunk?  

Based on our experience, very often the integration of ship and engine systems can cause challenges and uncertainty where the responsibility of specific system parts is unclear or where there are many different players involved in the system integration. However, with proper planning and expert design, solutions can be deployed to overcome these challenges.

It’s also important to note that you get different challenges depending on whether it’s a system for a retrofit or newbuild vessel. For example, a retrofit carried out for an existing vessel always requires more attention than a newbuild, as there are more preconditions to consider. The key points a shipowner should consider when planning for a retrofit range from engine modification availability, space constraints such as tank availability, health and safety guidelines and fuel availability through to specific sustainability goals and compliance considerations.

From Auramarine’s perspective, safety is one of the most important issues due to methanol toxicity and high flammability where, for crew, inhaling, touching, or breathing in methanol is very dangerous. We, therefore, provide onboard and in-house training for crew, officers, and onshore staff, where all aspects are considered to ensure trouble-free operations as well as compliance with all environmental, health and safety regulations.  Ultimately, a well-trained crew ensures a safe voyage and efficient operations, and we always ensure that we provide project-specific training plans, as well as operation and maintenance manuals for each project.

We also firmly believe that when one experienced supplier is responsible for the design of the entire system, it is easier to control the many subsystems to ensure optimum results. Specific responsibilities and requirements are always clearer and better for efficiency. Doing this reduces project-related risks because an understanding of the interface and relationships among different components and stakeholders helps avoid misunderstandings and prevents any oversight.

MT: In terms of technology, how have maritime fuel supply systems evolved over the years and how will this sector grow in the future to accommodate shipping's green trend? 

To meet the requirements of retrofits, and the planning and production cycles of new builds, maritime fuel supply systems are becoming more modular and flexible to install in different spaces and setups. This ensures a clear line of responsibility, allowing an experienced provider to take accountability for the safety and performance of the fuel supply system to minimise risks.

MT: Other than methanol/ammonia fuel supply systems, what other decarbonisation-related market opportunities do you see for Auramarine? 

There are a lot of opportunities for more efficient use of fuels.  For example, we recently launched our AFE (Auramarine Fuel Economiser) solution, a real-time data monitoring and reporting tool, which enables shipowners and operators to proactively analyse and identify where fuel consumption and emissions can be reduced, delivering savings of between 5% and 20%.

The AFE monitors and measures the entire fuel consumption of vessels across a whole fleet, collecting data from all fuel and power-related systems on board, whether a vessel is in operation or not. This makes data collection easy for accurate reporting purposes in line with regulations such as the IMO’s Carbon Intensity Indicator, and, critically, it also highlights opportunities to reduce fuel consumption such as optimising operations by analysing fuel profiles.

MT: How are Auramarine's solutions different and why should shipowners choose the firm's fuel supply systems over the competition? 

We believe in close collaboration with shipowners to ensure their systems are tailormade to their needs no matter what fuel they use, including methanol, biofuels and soon ammonia, and we always provide fast, flexible and accurate project execution leveraging more than 50 years of experience in fuel supply system deliveries.

We also provide customers with global lifecycle support and a ‘one-stop-shop’- an end-to-end solution for our methanol fuel supply system. When the methanol system’s lifecycle support comes from a single, experienced supplier, the customer can be assured that all interfaces within the system are considered, and all needs are covered. Any interface issues can be avoided, there are clear lines of responsibility and there are no gaps in the management and upkeep of the system throughout its lifetime.

With the current and future reporting and regulatory requirements, it is important that the fuel system is kept up-to-date and compliant with the changing requirements.  This is where preventative maintenance and the role of data comes in. By using remote conditioning and operational monitoring, operational issues and downtime can be avoided, ensuring safety, efficiency and unnecessary costs.

Related: Auramarine appoints Tuomas Häkkinen as Director Business Line Projects

 

Photo credit: Auramarine
Published: 11 July, 2024

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