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Report: Ship design and timeline planning key to green fuels conversion of box ships

Finds ‘Preparing Container Vessels for Conversion to Green Fuels’ report published by Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping.




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Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping on Friday (28 September) published a report ‘Preparing Container Vessels for Conversion to Green Fuels’ provides a technical, environmental, and techno-economic analysis of the impacts of preparing container ships for conversion to green fuels (i.e. methanol, ammonia).

The study found that although preparing for the transition to alternative fuels requires additional upfront investment, preparation can pay off in the long term with intelligent ship design and careful planning of conversion timelines. The conclusion of the study is as follows:

Building dual fuel and conversion-ready new builds typically increases newbuild CapEx by 1-16% of the cost for a standard fuel oil newbuild, depending on the planned alternative fuel, desired range, and preparation level. Total CapEx for newbuilding and conversions range from 1033% of the cost of a standard fuel oil newbuild (see Table 15).

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The increased tank volumes required for methanol and ammonia mean that costs associated with lost cargo have a big impact on the total lifetime costs. In the twin island vessel design used here, lost cargo space can be reduced by placing tanks under the accommodation, but this must be done during the newbuild phase, which increases newbuild costs and the risks associated with committing to a particular future fuel.  When tank preparation is not possible and additional alternative fuel tanks must be added in cargo areas later, this has a large impact on costs from cargo losses.

We have analyzed the total costs of newbuilding, conversion and cargo losses for vessels with different preparation levels for each fuel and provided recommendations for newbuild readiness levels, depending on the desired future fuel, conversion timelines, and range (see Figure 15,16). The costs of conversion mean that for short conversion timelines (3-8 years), dual fuel vessels make economic sense.  In most cases where conversion is expected in a timeline of 8-10 years, and full range for the alternative fuel is required, some degree of preparation reduces the total costs.

post 54506 Figure 15
post 54506 Figure 16

Converting unprepared vessels only makes economic sense on longer timelines or where reduced range options reduce cargo loses.  However, the different preparation levels (1-3) we analyzed only had a small impact on newbuild and total costs and very little impact on the total lifetime cost. However, in general the earlier you expect to convert, the more you should prepare. The desired range after conversion, on the other hand, has a much larger influence on conversion CapEx, and therefore the total lifetime cost. Reduced range vessels may offer cost effective options for conversion, where feasible.

When converting from LNG to ammonia, some of the required installations for ammonia are already installed, and as a result the conversion costs are lower than converting from fuel oil. When compared with an ammonia-fuel oil dual fuel newbuild, the total CapEx add-on including LNG option and the conversion cost, is around 30% of a fuel oil newbuild price. Our study shows that the additional cost for the LNG option is recovered over the period before conversion to ammonia because of the assumed lower cost of LNG as fuel, however the fuel price of LNG compared with fuel oil has a big impact on this calculation. If an LNG vessel’s fuel tank is not prepared at newbuild phase, then conversion to ammonia is not feasible for this type of vessel.

Our emissions analyses showed that CO2 emissions from the conversion is minimal, at around 0.3 of the lifetime emissions of a fuel oil vessel.  If the vessel is replaced with a newbuild, instead of converted, the emissions related to building a new vessel, is equal to around 1.5 years emissions from operating on fuel oil or 1.7 years of operation on LNG. This shows that conversion is also a valid option from an emission reduction perspective.

Note: The complete report ‘Preparing Container Vessels for Conversion to Green Fuels’ can be obtained from the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping through the link here.

Photo credit: Venti Views on Unsplash
Published: 3 October, 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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