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Methanol

Super bunker fuel storage solution for methanol in the mainstream

SRC introduces ‘Methanol Superstorage’ as a solution to increase bunker fuel tank volume by over 85% while having little impact on a vessel’s general arrangement.

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SRC traditional storage vs methanol super storage

Methanol overtook its rivals as shipping’s preferred decarbonization route for new ships ordered in 2023, but a ‘Methanol Superstorage’ solution means that the fuel type can be integrated into retrofits and newbuilds alike, says Alex Vainokivi, Innovation Manager SRC Group.

DNV and Clarksons’ World Fleet Register show methanol-capable vessels moving ahead of other dual fuel orders for the first time last year, with Chris Chatterton, COO, The Methanol Institute saying 2023 “could fairly be called the year that Methanol went mainstream”.

In the container market alone, Alphaliner reported the orderbook for methanol dual-fuel vessels as amounting to 152 ships in the first week of February.

Those committing to methanol as a route to shipping decarbonization do so on practical grounds: here is an alternative to fuel oil which offers lower carbon emissions today and a realistic pathway to net zero. Currently derived principally from natural gas, methanol is available, easy to handle and predictable; once produced renewably, ‘green’ methanol can be a carbon-neutral fuel.

“Choosing Methanol is a decision which allows vessel owners and charterers the ability to simply decarbonise faster in a more economically viable manner,” comments Chatterton.

However, it takes around 2.5 times the methanol to achieve energy efficiency equivalent to HFO. A container ship designed to carry 16,500 teu - typically 366 m long and 51 m wide, - would ‘lose’ 300 teu as extra fuel storage to sustain conventional bunkering patterns, according to Alphaliner.

True carrying capacity is invariably a matter for speculation when Maersk builds a new containership. In early February, Alphaliner was also puzzling over the precise capacity of Maersk’s new Equinox Class. Shorter than the convention, at 351m in length, these ships are also broader – at 53.5m wide. Alphaliner suggests moving the deckhouse and bridge onto the forecastle, and the funnel to the port aft corner of the hull, recovers carrying capacity by accommodating a full-width methanol fuel tank under bays 16-22. 

Space efficient solution

In a very different approach, SRC brought ‘Methanol Superstorage’ to market at the end of 2023 as a solution increasing fuel tank volume by over 85% while having little impact on general arrangement. The proposal met particular enthusiasm after Lloyd’s Register conferred Approval in Principle (AiP), which verifies that no major obstacles have been identified to future certification or classification.

Tanks storing low flashpoint fuels on board ship conventionally requiring cofferdams of at least 600mm across to separate internal and external walls as a safety precaution. Instead, Methanol Superstorage features 25mm thick tank walls formed by sandwich panel system (SPS) technology – a continuous polymer core injected between two steel surfaces.

The patent protected steel-polymer-steel barrier has been approved for permanent repairs by IACS class societies for over two decades, including for corrosion in ship structures. Class laboratory tests of the polymer core have verified chemical resistance - including for methanol.

“The ability to simplify safe onboard storage of Methanol as fuel is a development that we obviously welcome,” says Chatterton. “Choosing SPS technology means being able to load the same amount of energy on board as can be achieved with fuel oil, without any storage penalties, making bunkering operations more efficient in the process.”

Ships in service today – as well as newbuilds - must move towards alternative fuels, if shipping is to meet decarbonization targets set out for it by regulators. Chatterton observes that nearly 300 vessels were booked for alternative fuel retrofitting in 2023.

“Shipowners need every possible support on their pathway to net zero carbon,” he adds. “Retrofits are critical to helping the industry adopt Methanol now, as it strives to lower emissions and ease compliance with CII and the EU ETS for vessels already in service.”

 

Photo credit: SRC Group
Published: 29 February 2024

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Bunker Fuel

SMW 2024: Singapore is preparing port for multi-fuel future, says Transport Minister

‘Our industry has brought in new bunker tankers capable of bunkering higher blends of biofuel and methanol, paving the way for greater emissions reduction for vessels,’ says Chee Hong Tat.

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SMW 2024: Singapore is preparing port for a multi-fuel future, says Transport Minister.

Singapore has moved decisively to ensure energy and fuel resilience as international shipping looks to alternative fuels to meet global decarbonisation targets, said Singapore’s Minister for Transport Mr Chee Hong Tat on Monday (15 April).

In his speech at the Singapore Maritime Week (SMW) 2024 opening ceremony, he said Singapore is preparing its port for a multi-fuel future.

“Our industry has brought in new bunker tankers capable of bunkering higher blends of biofuel and methanol, paving the way for greater emissions reduction for vessels,” he said.

“MPA has also issued Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the alternative fuels ammonia and methanol over this past year.

“For our ammonia EOI, we have shortlisted six consortiums, and are studying their comprehensive proposals for the supply of ammonia for bunkering and power generation in Singapore.”

Chee added reliability and resilience also mean that Singapore upholds the highest standards for safety, efficiency, and quality. 

“Enterprise Singapore, through the Singapore Standards Council, has been working closely with industry partners to introduce national standards to support the digitalisation of bunkering supply chain documentation, as well as on methanol and ammonia bunkering.”

“As a major maritime and bunkering hub, Singapore is committed to continue serving as a trusted node for international shipping.”

Chee said this when elaborating on Singapore’s focus to grow the republic as a hub for reliable and resilient maritime operations, one of three important areas the republic will prioritise on growing its maritime sector. 

The other two areas are to grow Maritime Singapore as a hub for maritime innovation and as a hub for maritime talent development.

“Looking ahead, we expect some turbulence along the way, but we are confident that the global maritime industry will continue to grow,” Chee said.

“And Singapore as a hub port and International Maritime Centre can benefit from this growth and the opportunities it brings, including in emerging areas like digitalisation and decarbonisation.”

However, Chee warned Singapore shouldn’t take its success for granted and to continue improving productivity and competitiveness while staying relevant to changing requirements to be able to meet the needs of local and international stakeholders. 

“But we must not rest on our laurels, or make the mistake of thinking that these positive outcomes will happen on auto-pilot. A rising tide can indeed lift all boats, but the boat and its crew can only benefit if they are well-prepared when the water level rises,” he said.

Related: SMW2024: 18th Singapore Maritime Week opens with ‘Actions meet Ambition’ theme
Related: SMW 2024: MPA to set up facility for maritime workforce to train in handling new bunker fuels
Related: SMW 2024: Singapore-Rotterdam Green and Digital Shipping Corridor partners to implement first-mover pilot projects
RelatedSMW 2023: EOI for ammonia power generation and bunkering closing by 30 April
Related: Singapore gets its first dedicated methanol bunkering tanker “MT MAPLE”
Related: Singapore: Vitol Bunkers takes delivery of specialised biofuel bunker barge “Marine Future”

 

Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 16 April 2024

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Methanol

Singapore bunker tanker to be equipped with MAN ES DF gensets

MAN Energy Solutions received an order for three MAN 6L21/31DF-M (Dual Fuel-Methanol) GenSets capable of running on methanol for a 7,990 dwt IMO Type II chemical bunker tanker.

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Singapore bunker tanker to be equipped with MAN ES DF gensets

MAN Energy Solutions (MAN ES) on Monday (15 April) said it has received an order for three MAN 6L21/31DF-M (Dual Fuel-Methanol) GenSets capable of running on methanol in connection with the construction of a 7,990 dwt IMO Type II chemical bunker tanker.

The newbuild will operate at the port of Singapore under charter to deliver marine fuels. The port itself is reported as laying plans for the steady supply of methanol from 2025 onwards in order to meet future, anticipated bunkering requirements for methanol-fuelled vessels. 

The dual-fuel engines will form part of a diesel-electric propulsion system on board the vessel with electrical motors driving twin fixed-pitch propellers via gearboxes; an onboard battery-storage system will optimise the use of the dual-fuelled generators. 

MAN Energy Solutions’ licensee, CMP – an engine-manufacturing division of Chinese State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) – will build the engines in China and the vessel is scheduled for delivery during Q4, 2025.

Bjarne Foldager – Country Manager, Denmark – MAN Energy Solutions, said: “Seeing our trusted MAN L21/31 GenSets go into these ships as a methanol-fuelled version shows that maritime decarbonisation is a prominent consideration for shipowners in all vessel segments and sizes.”

“It also clearly illustrates, regardless of the market one serves as shipowner, that our broad, dual-fuel portfolio enables everyone to take part in the green transition.”

Thomas S. Hansen – Head of Sales and Promotion – MAN Energy Solutions, said: “The MAN L21/31 engine is well-established in the market having racked up some 2,750 sales.”

“The reliability of its cost-effective, port fuel-injection concept now prominently positions the 21/31DF-M as the preferred, medium-speed, small-bore engine for GenSet and diesel-electric propulsion solutions, while also meeting market demands to balance both CAPEX and OPEX.”

“With the shipping market currently experiencing an increased interest in methanol as marine fuel, and orders for methanol-fuelled ships steadily growing as part of many companies’ decarbonisation strategy, we feel that the introduction of this dual-fuel engine is timely.”

 

Photo credit: MAN Energy Solutions
Published: 16 April 2024

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Alternative Fuels

SMW 2024: MPA to set up facility for maritime workforce to train in handling new bunker fuels

Facility will be anchored by new dual-fuel marine engine simulator for training on safe handling, bunkering and management of incidents involving the use of alternative marine fuels such as methanol.

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MPA to set up facility for maritime workforce to train in handling new bunker fuels

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on Monday (15 April) said it will establish an industry-supported facility to address the current competencies gap by training the global maritime workforce in handling and operating vessels using clean marine fuels. 

MPA said there is a need for more maritime personnel and seafarers to be trained and equipped to operate these ships safely and efficiently as the number of ships operating on zero or near-zero emission fuels grows. 

With hundreds of crew changes conducted daily here, Singapore’s Maritime Energy Training Facility (METF) is well placed to support the training of international seafarers. Ship owners and operators can expect time and training cost savings by tapping on METF’s training facilities. 

Around 10,000 seafarers and other maritime personnel are expected to be trained at METF from now to the 2030s, as the facilities are progressively developed by 2026.

The Letter of Intent to establish METF was signed by MPA and 22 partners comprising global marine engine manufacturers, international organisations, classification societies, trade associations, unions, and institutes of higher learning, at the SMW 2024 opening ceremony. 

The setting up of METF follows from recommendations put forth by the Tripartite Advisory Panel, formed in early 2023 by SMF and supported by MPA, to identify emerging and future skills and competencies to build for the maritime workforce.

METF will be established as a decentralised network of training facilities in Singapore. It will be anchored by a new dual-fuel marine engine simulator for training on the safe handling, bunkering and management of incidents involving the use of alternative fuels, such as methanol and ammonia. 

Other training facilities supporting METF include the integrated engine room and bridge simulator by the Singapore Maritime Academy (SMA) at Singapore Polytechnic (SP), as well as the bridge and engine simulator at Wavelink Maritime Institute (WMI)2 for crew resource management training. 

For emergency response training, METF is supported by gas and fire safety training facilities at Poly Marina operated by the SMA, as well as AR-enabled scenario- based training developed by SP’s Centre of Excellence in Maritime Safety.

METF will also tap various partners’ assets and training technologies to upskill the global maritime workforce, including seafarers, on the operations, bunkering and management of zero or near-zero emission-powered vessels. New training courses and curriculum will be developed by METF’s partners, and progressively rolled out from this year.

MPA also aims to support and contribute to the work of the Maritime Just Transition Task Force (MJTTF) as one of the institutions rolling out the Baseline Training Framework for Seafarers in Decarbonization – which is under development – through METF. 

This will directly contribute to the joint International Maritime Organization (IMO)–MJTTF work to develop training provisions for seafarers in support of decarbonisation of shipping, and complements the IMO's ongoing comprehensive review of the International Convention and Code on Standards of

Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). Singapore is currently chairing the IMO Working Group on the comprehensive review of the STCW Convention and Code, established in 2023 under the Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping.

As part of the METF curriculum, SMA has launched one of the Asia Pacific’s first training courses focused on handling methanol as fuel for ships. The training course, accredited by MPA, covers operational and safety protocols during methanol fuelling developed by MPA following the first ship-to-containership methanol bunkering operation conducted in Singapore in July 2023. 

The course also includes a methanol firefighting practical component covering both shipboard and terminal fires. SMA currently offers two sessions of the Basic and Advanced courses every month, with plans to scale up based on the industry’s demands. The course will be open to all maritime personnel and seafarers starting in April 2024.

With strong demand signalled by the industry for such common training facilities, METF is expected to catalyse investments by the industry to develop other training facilities and solutions in Singapore to tap into this growth area. MAN Energy Solutions, one of the leading global engine makers of alternative-fuel engines, recently opened a new mixed-purpose facility. 

The facility includes a new MAN PrimeServ5 training academy for customers and employees on the safe operation, maintenance, and troubleshooting of all MAN Energy Solutions equipment. METF is also expected to benefit corporate training academies set up by shipping companies, such as those from Eastern Pacific Shipping, to train their global seafaring crew and shore-based personnel.

The MPA – SMF Joint Office for Talent and Skills (Joint Office) was established in March 2024 to coordinate and drive the tripartite efforts by the government, industry, and unions to upskill the Maritime Singapore workforce across shore-based and seafaring jobs and to ensure Singapore continues to have access to a diversity of maritime talents and experts.

To provide workers with greater flexibility in the acquisition of new skills, the Joint Office will work with IHLs and industry to review and progressively convert relevant short-term courses, or on-the-job training into accredited competency-based micro-credentials. These will focus on emerging skills such as maritime cybersecurity, digitalisation, and sustainability. 

The micro-credentials could potentially be stacked towards formal or industry-recognised qualifications and to fill the gap in quality and flexible upskilling or reskilling opportunities for working adults while they remain in full employment. The Joint Office plans to expand the micro-credential pathway, allowing recognition of more courses and workplace learning as micro-credentials over time.

Related: Singapore bunkering sector enters milestone with first methanol marine refuelling op

 

Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 15 April 2024

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