Marine Methanol

ScandiNAOS methanol projects

+ Bio-Met - CO2 neutral methanol for shipping 2018-2019

The aim of the project is to demonstrate an alternative for shipping in order to be able to reach the established Swedish climate target by 2030 - to reduce fossil emissions of fossil greenhouse gases from transport by 70%. Where the intended fuel supplier and transport customer creates a proposal for rebuilding a small cargo vessel able to run on Bio-methanol. This type of retrofit has never been done before anywhere in the world. The Bio-methanol that is to be used as fuel comes from a unused source from the current forest industry. Södra Skogsägarna (Södra) in Mönsterås builds a special facility with the capacity to refine this unused process into Bio-methanol. Through carefully analysis it has been found that when the converted vessel appears to be the most climate-friendly one in the Baltic Sea’s.

For the both parties, Ivar Lundh AB and Södra, reduction of the environmental impact is of great importance. Especially the impact of greenhouse gases and emissions of particle matters created by the shipping. Without this shared ambition the project would not have been implemented. It is also of great interest for the both actors to bullet-proof their businesses against tightening environmental regulations.

By refinements of the unused source, the final product is a CO2-neutral bio-fuel produced from the Swedish forest industry.

A suitable vessel for the conversion has been found, a 5,000 dwt cargo vessel with the capacity to carry 4,000 m3 pulp-wood from various ports in the Baltic’s to Mönsterås. Necessaries for the conversion has been established, how to arrange the new fuel tanks, what new main engine is suitable, what additional piping is needed and of course what extra safeguards is necessary in terms of introducing methanol as a marine fuel. A large expense of the conversion is the main engine swap, but not to unexpected, better in the environmental perspective. At the same time it can be hard to justify this engine swap on a relatively old vessel. Therefore additional newer vessels will be evaluated, before an investment of SEK 20-30 million, or more, is done.

For more info see: SÖDRA Skogsägarna

+ GreenBoat 2017-2019

The GreenBoat project has shown concrete commercially viable methods for introducing alcohol as fuel into the workboat and recreational boat segments. Alcohols such as methanol and ethanol are identified as alternative fuels that can make a decisive contribution to improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The GreenBoat project has been organized into 4 work packages where alcohol conversion has been performed for:

- A two-stroke outboard engine of older model with carburetor

- A four-stroke outboard engine of newer model with port injection

- A used recreational boat with port injected inboard engine

- A new work boat with two directly injected inboard engine

The project has shown marine petrol engines easily can be converted to alcohol fuel. The performance with alcohol fuel is the same or slightly better compared to petrol. The expected reduction in emissions have been confirmed where greater improvements are achieved on older engines than on newer ones.

An obvious conclusion is that petrol-driven work and leisure boats can easily be adapted to renewable fuel, which not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions but also reduces emissions of hazardous substances to air and water.

ScandiNAOS and Nimbus are now looking to make the alcohol concept more accessible by further developing the technology for full fuel flexibility where the fuel system automatically adapts to the fuel in the tank which could be petrol, ethanol, methanol or a mixture of petrol and an alcohol.

A solution such as this can eliminated the traditional chicken and egg problem where a new better fuel is not available because the demand does not exist, and the demand will not develop because of the absence of filling stations.

The full flexifuel solution will mean that a customer can order a future-proof solution today and enable the transition to cleaner fuel with lower environmental impact when they availability increases.

For more info see: GreenBoat

+ GreenPilot - Pilot Boat with Minimal Environmental Impact 2016-2019

The GreenPilot project was carried out to demonstrate the emissions reductions and environmental performance improvements that could be achieved by converting a small vessel to run on methanol fuel. Reducing emissions is a priority for all vessel sizes, as emissions regulations are becoming stricter and concerns about greenhouse gases and global warming continues to grow. Within Sweden, the government has announced its ambition to convert all state-owned vessels to fossil-free operation and is investigating 2030 and 2045 as possible deadlines. Methanol produced from renewable feedstock is a possible solution for some of the vessels.

By physically converting a Swedish pilot boat to run on methanol, the project demonstrated the feasibility of methanol as a fuel solution for small vessels. Work included converting and testing three different engines to run on methanol, two of which were installed and operated on the converted pilot boat. Emissions measurements showed good reductions as compared to conventional fuel oil. Fossil-free methanol produced from pulp mill black liquor in a Swedish pilot plant was used in some of the laboratory and on board tests. The project also investigated other solutions for reducing environmental impacts of the pilot boats, including the use of solar cells, batteries, and fuel cells.

For more info see: GreenPilot

+ SUMMETH 2015-2018

The SUMMETH project shows that methanol can be used efficiently as a fuel in marine diesel engines for smaller vessels. There are significant environmental benefits to be realized from using methanol as fuel, including significantly lower emissions of particulates during combustion, and large reductions in GHG emissions if sustainable methanol is used.

Methanol engine concepts was tested experimentally within SUMMETH including a variety of injection and ignition types. For the 250 to 1200 kW engine range considered, methanol was found to have a distinct advantage over conventional fuels with regards to emissions and performance of the different concepts was also found to be good. A conventional port-fuel injected spark-ignited (PFI-SI) engine for lean operation combined with a oxidizing catalyst was considered as the most dependable, clean and affordable methanol concept, an additional option is methanol with additive (MD95) that likely can be implemented in short term.

Results indicates that the emissions of particle matter (PM) is significantly lower and the NOx emissions is as well reduced when operating on methanol. Over a fuel life cycle compared with conventional diesel fuels for smaller vessels, it is showed, when using renewable methanol from feedstock, reductions of greenhouse gases up to 75 to 90 %.

A market analysis of smaller vessels within the North West Europe area found that on an annual basis approximately 262,478 tonnes of fuel oil, equivalent to 564,285 tonnes of methanol on an energy basis, is used for main engine propulsion in a fleet of 6167 vessels with propulsion engines with power in the range 250 kW to 1200 kW. The dominant vessel types in terms of fuel use were found to be cargo, fishing, passenger, tanker, and pilot boats.

A design for conversion of an existing Swedish road ferry to methanol operation was developed, demonstrating the feasibility of the concept and that monitoring, serviceability, and safety can meet existing requirements. An overview of other smaller vessel types showed the possibilities for different solutions and system design requirements. It was also concluded that the range of the studied vessels normally bunker from a truck, and thus there are no barriers anticipated if methanol is used instead of conventional fuel.

For more info see: SUMMETH

+ Stena Germanica Methanol conversion 2013-2015

Stena Germanica was in 2015 the first large scale vessel to operate on methanol, after a conversion of the 4 existing main engines together with tank arrangement and fuel preparation systems. Germanica is one of the largest ROPAX vessels in the world and is a state-of-the-art example where a shipowner introduces an alternative fuel on a large scale and demonstrates that it works.

The project has been carried out in collaboration with the engine manufacturer Wärtsilä, the ports of Gothenburg and Kiel as well as the world's largest producer and supplier of methanol, Methanex Corporation. The conversion has been carried out in Gdansk, Poland, at the Remontova shipyard.

The emissions from methanol are roughly the same as for LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas), but are easier to process and do not place the same demands on infrastructure. Since 2005, Stena Line has worked to reduce its environmental impact by means of an energy-saving programme and it has succeeded in reducing the energy consumption of our ships by an average of 2.5 percent per year.

Methanol is a colourless liquid that can be produced from natural gas, coal, biomass or even CO2. By using methanol, the emissions of sulphur (SOx) are reduced by roughly 99 percent, nitrogen (NOx) by 60 percent, particles (PM) by 95 percent and carbon dioxide (CO2) by 25 percent when compared to fuels currently available.

Stena has received the Green Ship Technology (GST) award for the efforts in converting the Stena Germanica to run on methanol. It is an important project, both for Stena as a company and for the entire industry, as it needs more long-term sustainable fuel alternatives in order to remain competitive.

For more info see: Stena Germanica, SUPERGREEN

+ PROMSUS 2013-2014

The purpose of PROMSUS is to initiate a dialogue and cooperation between relevant institutions on a high international level for creation of a road map for development and industrialization of processes for production of methanol fuel for the marine industry. The key words for the processes are "minimizing the environmental impact". The possibility to utilize/re-circulate CO2 is of particular interest as well as methanol production out of CO2 and H2. Further will be studied which qualities of methanol or combinations with similar alcohols are most suitable from the engine point of view and what is required to industrialize the identified technologies.

For more info see: PROMSUS

+ SPIRETH 2011-2014

The SPIRETH (“Alcohol (spirits) and ethers as marine fuel”) project will test a methanol-based fuel on board a ship and evaluate its potential to reduce emissions and improve environmental performance. Begun in 2012, the project aims to power an auxiliary diesel engine on a Swedish ropax vessel with a blend of methanol and di-methyl ether (DME) produced using a technology developed by Haldor Topsøe called “On Board Alcohol to Ether” (OBATE™). A diesel engine in a laboratory will be powered on both pure and raw methanol as a second project test stream.

The testing is expected to provide unique field-based information on emissions levels, engine performance, and operational costs. Methanol and DME fuels are expected to enable ships to comply with upcoming emissions regulations without any exhaust gas after-treatment. “Green” methanol, such as that produced in Sweden by gasification of biomass, can be combined with that produced from fossil fuel to help shipping meet CO2 reduction targets. The cost effectiveness and cost benefit of the methanol/DME systems will be assessed and compared to other methods of meeting emission control guidelines.

For more info see: SPIRETH methanol as marine fuel

+ EffShip 2009-2012

The EffShip project is based on the vision of a sustainable and successful maritime transport industry – one which is energy-efficient and has minimal environmental impacts. Specific project goals to achieve this include improving the efficiency of the ship machinery, introducing alternative marine fuels, using wind energy as a complementary propulsion force and developing applicable technology for reducing the emissions of CO2, NOx , SOx and Particulate Matter. The project will result in solutions with respect to maritime fuels, energy efficiency and emission reduction technology that will contribute to the fulfillment of EU’s and the Swedish Government’s climate goals of 20% more efficient energy usage, 40% reduction of green house gas emissions, a minimum of 10% renewable energy in the transport sector in year 2020 and to fulfill and exceed upcoming international rules. In the project, there will be full scale tests of some of the developed technologies as well as a complete ship design including functional design of the best technologies. A state of the art ship design has been made available to the project to act as the platform for further development. The project results will be disseminated and exploited through the eight partners of the project consortium consisting of research organizations, ship design companies, suppliers of power and emission reduction solutions and heating systems.

For more info see: EffShip