Connect with us


ZeroNorth: Singapore’s pioneering e-BDN bunkering project makes waves internationally

‘This is very much commercially driven as parties in the regions are still trying to figure out how e-BDNs are relevant for their respective locations,’ Kenneth Juhls, Managing Director of ZeroNorth Bunker tells Manifold Times.




Kenneth Juhls, Managing Director, ZeroNorth Bunker,

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA)’s pioneering electronic bunker delivery note (e-BDN) project for the republic’s maritime sector has been steadily gaining attention from      overseas, observes the Managing Director of digital bunkering platform solutions provider ZeroNorth Bunker.

“We currently see interest from bunker buyers, shipping firms, barge owners and operators, fuel suppliers and a few port authorities based at the ARA, Mediterranean, Middle East, and the U.S. who are all eyeing to see how the e-BDN project at Singapore turns out,” Kenneth Juhls told Manifold Times.

“This is very much commercially driven as parties in the regions are still trying to figure out how e-BDNs are relevant for their respective locations.”

According to Juhls, recent implementation of the Singapore-Rotterdam Green and Digital Shipping Corridor (GDSC) would suggest that the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) region would be the “next step” to expand e-BDN bunkering operations.

“I see ARA as a good next step to expand e-BDN. ZeroNorth is very keen to engage with all port authorities to share knowledge and hands on experience based on the deployment of e-BDN bunkering operations at Singapore,” he said.

“Obviously, we would love to have a full end-to-end digital solution where the e-BDN is receiving verified information from the mass flowmeter (MFM) so there is no manual intervention; much like Singapore port.

“However, in practise one does not need a MFM-equipped bunker tanker to be able to perform e-BDN bunkering operations.”

Juhls explained digital bunkering platforms are also designed to be adaptive to different situations by allowing manual entry of data in certain circumstances.

“In Singapore, we are still in the integration phase of seamlessly connecting MFM data to the e-BDN system. In the interim, manual data entry, where personnel the tablet to take a photo of the bunker metering ticket and the eBDN app using OCR technology to auto extract the data receipt and key similar information into the tablet, is still being performed,” he said.

“In my understanding, phase two of MPA’s e-BDN integration will look into eliminating this action.”

Moving forward, Juhls says that he wishes for the shipping industry to adopt e-BDN solutions at a quicker pace.

“Singapore is the biggest bunkering port, and thus is a perfect location to kickstart momentum on e-BDN. But we also need to include the whole shipping industry for      it to work well,” he said. “We hope that together we’ll be able to spur faster global adoption of e-BDN and enable widespread digital transformation.”

Related: SMW 2024: Singapore-Rotterdam Green and Digital Shipping Corridor partners to implement first-mover pilot projects


Photo credit: ZeroNorth
Published: 24 April 2024

Continue Reading


Interview: Methanol marine fuel ‘favourable at the moment’ with X-Press Feeders, says COO

‘There are many pathways in this energy transition, but methanol engine technology is readily available and presents the quickest adoption path for us,’ Francis Goh tells Manifold Times.





Francis Goh X-Press Feeders

Singapore-based global maritime container shipping company X-Press Feeders is currently looking at green methanol marine fuel as the answer to power its energy transition, shared its Chief Operating Officer.

“Bio-methanol is favourable for the operating profile of X-Press Feeders at the moment as it allows our vessels to still maintain carrying capacity while keeping to a green profile,” Francis Goh told bunkering publication Manifold Times in an exclusive interview on Monday (27 May).

“There are many pathways in this energy transition, but methanol engine technology is readily available and presents the quickest adoption path for us.

“LNG requires a lot of space for the bunker fuel tanks and choosing LNG would have eaten up a lot of carrying capacity for our latest 1,200 TEU newbuildings – which are designed for short trips.

“We operate 100 vessels in our global network, so we still need to stay open to opportunities and future pathways.”

The company recently celebrated the first simultaneous methanol bunkering and cargo operation (SIMOPS) of the 1,200 TEU capacity Eco Maestro in Singapore on 27 May; the containership is the first in a series of 14 newbuildings ordered from Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Holdings and New Dayang shipyard.

“These vessels run a fixed day weekly feeder route and are very fuel efficient. They can complete one round-voyage with just a full tank of methanol bunker fuel,” he added.

Mr Goh, meanwhile, noted training of crew and office staff to be a key factor in X-Press Feeders’ adoption of methanol marine fuel.

“We engaged Green Marine to provide training for us based on the IGF Code (International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low-flashpoint Fuels),” he explained.

“The use of methanol as a marine fuel is something new for the containership sector so we had to upskill our own people both on sea and land to use this bunker fuel safely.

“We paired current crew onboard with seafarers experienced with methanol and supported office staff with subject matter experts. Training went on for at least a six-month period before actual methanol bunkering operations [in Singapore].

“Moving forward, we intend to progressively post crew experienced with methanol bunkering to support the remaining 13 methanol-powered newbuildings as they enter service.”

Related: First SIMOPS methanol bunkering operation completed in Singapore
Related: Singapore-based X-Press Feeders takes delivery of methanol dual-fuel vessel
Related: Singapore-based X-Press Feeders to launch world’s first feeder network powered by green methanol


Photo credit: X-Press Feeders
Published: 30 May 2024

Continue Reading


Singapore: Industry expert clarifies rising misconception of methanol bunker fuel carbon intensity

Several industry stakeholders have expressed difficulties in meeting the stated carbon intensity of 90 gCO2e / MJ outlined by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.





RESIZED AND ADJUSTED Chris Chatterton (1)

A misconception by parties keen on supplying methanol as a bunker fuel at Singapore port is rising and needs to be addressed, observed methanol industry expert Chris Chatterton.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on December 2023 issued the Expression of Interest (EOI) for the supply of methanol as a marine bunker fuel in the port of Singapore document to the bunkering sector.

In it stated: “The Participant shall propose methanol product(s) with a carbon intensity (CI) not greater than 90 gCO2e / MJ (well-to-wake) for bunkering in Singapore”.

Several industry stakeholders have expressed to Chatterton difficulties in meeting the stated CI of 90 gCO2e / MJ due to conventional grey methanol produced using current modern methods having a CI of between 90 to 95 gCO2e / MJ, or even higher in some cases, on a life cycle assessment basis.

Further, the parties were concerned of significant higher costs when considering the premium between fuel oil (HFO and LSFO) and more expensive green [carbon neutral] methanol.

“Guys, don’t sweat the premium! When we talk about green methanol in premiums, we are referring to 100% green methanol here and nobody is going to burn this product in commercial operations due to costs unless it is economically viable under prevailing policy or they are able to transfer these costs to cargo owners,” he exclaimed.

“Questions persist on how to meet the CI specification and some players are wondering if the methanol can be blended or needs to come direct unchanged from the manufacturing complex. This needs to be addressed but is technically very simple to do.”

Chatterton recommends the bunkering industry to utilise the Mass Balance Approach – a concept familiar with the chemical industry – which traces the flow of materials through a supply chain as a compliant method to lower the specific CI content of methanol for use as marine fuel (combusted).

Source: International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC)

Source: International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC)

“Not all methanol production plants are created equal and when you purchase methanol you are going to get a CI certificate stating the carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent per Megajoule (MJ) from well-to-plant gate basis,” he informed.

“And just by blending the certified grade with a portion of green carbon neutral methanol you can effectively lower the CI value of conventional conventional methanol to meet the 90 gCO2e / MJ specification required by MPA.

“Singapore is an ideal hub to receive and trade varying specifications of certified grey, blue and green methanol from not only China, Middle East, but from any corner of the world, efficiently and cost-effectively."

Availability of green carbon neutral methanol from China

Globally, “pilot” production projects are expected to produce over 6 million metric tonnes (mt) of green methanol in 2025, with up to 4 million mt coming from China, stated Chatterton who added a large portion of China’s green methanol will be derived from wind power, which is arguably the lowest cost wind resource with the highest capacity factor globally.

“Northeast China has a very high onshore wind capacity factor at above 95% which is amongst the best in the world and enough to provide baseload power rivalling utility scale gas fired powerplants,” he explained.

“China is also a world leader in renewable power production, whether solar or wind by a factor of two and has more than twice the renewable power capacity than USA.

“Further, China is the largest producer of renewable power equipment of any kind in the world and by far also the cheapest because they produce at scale; whether it’s wind towers, rotor blades, turbines, or solar panels - China is the outright leader in production capacity and has been so for many years.”

Most of China’s pilot scale projects set to produce green methanol are already in the final investment phase. To date, pilot projects in operation could only produce between 100,000 to 200,000 mt of green methanol per annum, and low volumes have resulted in higher prices for the green material.

However, once scaled up, these pilot projects will be able to produce 2-3 times more product to eventually lead to a softening of market pricing for green methanol, noted Chatterton.

Future prices and procurement of green methanol

“Therefore, there is no need to be too worried about the current methanol premium over HFO. There are certainly organisations able to provide methanol at more flexible terms, but these term contracts typically are for a longer duration,” he continued.

“A similar development took place for shipping’s transition to IMO 2020, when all majors instructed bunker suppliers needed to enter into long term contracts for at least a year to secure 0.50% sulphur limit VLSFO.”

Moving forward, Chatterton believes the combined factors of increased availability of green methanol, more efficient renewable power and power equipment cost structures, resulting in economies of scale will mean more affordable methanol from 2025 onwards – particularly from China.

“The green methanol producers in China are mainly pursuing ISCC EU certification which means it is compliant for use in Europe. With FuelEU kicking in, it will be even more ideal for shipowners to switch to using lower carbon and carbon neutral methanol as a sustainable marine fuel,” he ends.

Related: MPA receives 50 submissions for EOI to supply methanol bunker fuel in Singapore
Related: MPA issues EOI seeking for methanol bunker fuel suppliers in Singapore


Published: 20 May 2024

Continue Reading


Foreship: Energy density and safety aspects of alternative marine fuels must be addressed in future ship designs

‘Methanol-ready’ term has been overstretched to include ships which are far from ready for the alternative marine fuel, Jan-Erik Räsänen, Chief Technology Officer, Foreship tells Manifold Times.





Foreship: Energy density and safety aspects of alternative marine fuels must be addressed in future ship designs

The increasing use of alternative marine fuels due to IMO 2030/2050 regulations is creating challenges that ship designers still need to overcome, according to Helsinki-based ship design and engineering specialist Foreship.

“’Future proof design’ is one of the key words of the shipping industry these days,” Jan-Erik Räsänen, Chief Technology Officer, Foreship told bunkering publication Manifold Times.

“While clearly still challenging, designing ships for lower emissions was more straightforward in the early days because it involved heavy fuel oil (HFO) and marine gas oil (MGO); their superior energy density and relatively high flash point offer great flexibility when designing ships.

“However, while alternative bunker fuels are a good thing due to their lower emissions, they also come with challenges. Ship designers have to consider the energy density, energy content and, due to their low flash points, these fuels must be accessed and stored in separate tanks.”

Foreship 14 Large format

Challenges of marine engine retrofits to use methanol and LNG

The option of retrofitting vessel engines to use alternative marine fuels such as methanol and liquified natural gas (LNG) also pose their own set of issues, highlights Räsänen.

“Today most shipowners thinking about a retrofit probably consider methanol as their starting point; for ship designers the methanol is a good bunker fuel as it offers flexibility in choosing between different storage tank locations on a vessel,” he explained.

“However, one of challenges for methanol is the need to do more structure-wise when compared to traditional bunker fuels such as HFO and MGO. Designers must strengthen the hull to cope with additional weight from the weight and introduction of cofferdams; containerships will most likely lose cargo space as a result of the conversion.

“Foreship has already done several conversion designs for cruise ships to use methanol, and the conversion can be more straight forward than some might expect, with double bottom tanks and ballast water tanks used to store the bunker fuel. However, doing so comes at a cost - structure-wise.”

Räsänen points out that classification societies also offer initial thoughts on engine retrofit plans to consume methanol. Additionally, engine manufacturers such as Wärtsilä and MAN offer retrofit kits for their own two-stroke engines to simplify the process.

“As such, today we usually ask shipyards to strengthen the hull to accept alternative bunker fuel,  ,”  Räsänen noted, although he expressed reservations on the use of LNG as a future marine fuel. “We are debating heavily on methane slip especially on four-stroke LNG engines,” he said.

‘Methanol-ready’ term overstretched

Moving forward, Räsänen felt the term ‘methanol-ready’ has been over-used, at a time when its definition has not been standardised by class societies.

In general, to secure approval-in-principle (AiP) status as a ‘methanol-ready’, ship owners must agree that a certain number of vessel modifications need to be  carried out so that the ship can consume methanol as a bunker fuel.

However, shipowners can secure the in-principle approval before all of the modifications are carried out, with the ship notated as ‘methanol-ready’ on the basis that it is on the right path.

“This is a departure from the ordinary understanding of what it means for something to be ‘technology-ready’, said Räsänen. “Given what is at stake, it’s essential that these terms aren’t vulnerable to being considered gimmicks.”

Potential risks included ship managers taking a vessel on long term charter on the grounds that it was ‘methanol-ready’ when a full evaluation of its conversion had not been undertaken.

“This AiP has varied between different class societies, and I’d say there certainly needs to be standardisation on what ‘methanol-ready’ notation means – as a matter of priority .”


Photo credit: Foreship
Published: 7 May 2024

Continue Reading
  • v4Helmsman Gif Banner 01
  • RE 05 Lighthouse GIF
  • SBF2
  • Consort advertisement v2
  • Aderco advert 400x330 1
  • EMF banner 400x330 slogan


  • 102Meth Logo GIF copy
  • HL 2022 adv v1
  • SEAOIL 3+5 GIF
  • Triton Bunkering advertisement v2
  • Singfar advertisement final

  • Synergy Asia Bunkering logo MT
  • SMS Logo v2
  • 300 300
  • Central Star logo
  • Auramarine 01
  • MFA logo v2
  • E Marine logo
  • Cathay Marine Fuel Oil Trading logo
  • Victory Logo
  • Energe Logo
  • Headway Manifold
  • Advert Shipping Manifold resized1
  • 400x330 v2 copy
  • VPS 2021 advertisement