Connect with us

Alternative Fuels

Port of Barcelona set sights on becoming LNG bunkering hub in Mediterranean

Barcelona is consolidating itself as an LNG bunkering hub in the Mediterranean; Port of Barcelona also hopes to become a bunkering hub for new zero-carbon bunker fuels.




port of barcelona

PierNext, a digital knowledge hub spearheaded by Port of Barcelona, on Thursday (23 February) published an article on LNG as a transition fuel and Barcelona consolidating itself as an LNG bunkering hub in the Mediterranean. The following is an excerpt from its article titled ‘LNG: a fuel for energy transition’:


"When the policy of introducing LNG at the Port of Barcelona began in 2014, there were practically no ships powered by this fuel. Nor were there any specific supply logistics and the numerous reluctances to use it made its implementation practically impossible," explains Jordi Vila, head of the Environment at the Barcelona Port Authority.

Today, however, the situation is completely different. "Since 2017, LNG bunkering operations have been carried out from tanker trucks, in the truck-to-ship mode, and since 2019, in the ship-to-ship mode, always safely and without any accidents," says Vila.

Vila also adds that the introduction of LNG in the port of Barcelona has helped to break the pre-established patterns and inertia acquired over decades of using traditional fuels. Thanks to the implementation of pilot projects, such as Cleanport or Core LNGas hive, the necessary risk analyses have been carried out for the safe supply of the fuel. Furthermore, the development of the logistical supply chain has been facilitated.

"The port community, shipowners and the Port Authority itself were able to experience that the fuel was technically viable and safe, facilitating its subsequent penetration as a fuel for LNG-powered ships and opening up the future introduction of other fuels of equal or greater complexity from the safety point of view, such as hydrogen or ammonia," explains the head of the Environment.


In 2021, LNG bunkering operations at the Port of Barcelona accounted for almost 11% of total bunkering operations. In 2022, however, the figures reduced. "It has been complicated by the global rise in LNG prices, aggravated by the war in Ukraine. This has meant that LNG carriers, having dual engines, reduced their LNG usage," explains Daniel Ruiz, Environment technician at the Port of Barcelona.

In total, 26,400 cubic metres of LNG were supplied in 32 operations, compared to 65,000 cubic metres and 236 operations in 2021 (a year in which the effects of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic were still there). "It is estimated that, when prices normalise and regulatory measures penalising the use of diesel start to be applied, LNG use will return to levels higher than those of 2021," concludes Vila.

In addition, LNG use is expected to increase as more ships are built using LNG. In turn, more vessels will use it when the logistics chain is implemented in other shipping routes. "Currently the average life of a ship is around 25 to 30 years, so in order to order a ship with a new fuel, the shipowner must be sure that the fuel will be available on all its routes, throughout this time and at a reasonable price," says Vila.

"Although LNG is a fossil fuel, it is the only technologically mature fuel that can reduce air pollution and CO2 emissions which has a logistics chain in place in many ports. This allows shipowners to be sure about its supply," he explains.


Since the beginning of 2023, the Haugesund Knutsen has been permanently based at the Port of Barcelona. This is the first LNG bunkering vessel to be built in Spain and the first to be permanently based in a Spanish port.

Until now, vessels supplying LNG to other ships in the Port of Barcelona were not based there, but had to make long journeys - sometimes from Gibraltar, the Canary Islands or the Netherlands - to reach their destination. The Haugesund Knutsen, however, will be based in the Mediterranean port, which will facilitate and reduce the costs of these operations.

The vessel itself has been designed for agile and flexible deliveries. "It has bunker stations on both sides, as well as amidships and at the stern of the vessel, which allows it to supply port and starboard to different types of receiving vessels and to operate in a wide range of terminals for loading LNG," explains Daniel Ruiz.

"It has two bi-lobe C-type tanks with a total capacity of 5,000 cubic metres of LNG and has been designed with a low overhead draft, which allows it to dock with cruise ships below the lifeboat line. This avoids the use of a breakaway pontoon between the supply vessel and the receiver, saving costs and operating time," he adds.

The vessel, owned by Knutsen and Enagás subsidiary Scale Gas, was built as part of the LNGHive 2 Barcelona project. According to the Port of Barcelona's environmental managers, participation in this project has led to improvements in the drafting of a new set of specific specifications for the supply of LNG as a port service, which will be published in a few months and which has enabled the existing supply regulations to be improved.

"This and other advances will help to consolidate the port of Barcelona as an LNG bunkering hub in the Mediterranean. Furthermore, our wish is that in the future it will also be consolidated as a bunkering hub for the new zero-carbon fuels," says Ruiz.

Note: The full article ‘LNG: a fuel for energy transition’ can be found here.


Photo credit: Port of Barcelona
Published: 28 February, 2023

Continue Reading


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

Continue Reading


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

Continue Reading


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

Continue Reading