North American-based Methanex Corporation, which has a strong presence on methanol production in the New Plymouth region, has highlighted the construction of four new ocean-going vessels that will be powered by methanol fuel.
The companies investing in the ships are Waterfront Shipping Co Ltd (WFS), Marinvest/Skagerack Invest, IINO Kaiun Kaisha, Ltd (IINO), Mitsui & Co, Ltd, and the NYK Group.
Methanex said these four 49,000 dead weight tonne vessels will be delivered in 2019 and built with MAN B&W ME-LGI 2-stroke dual-fuel engines that can run on methanol, fuel oil, marine diesel oil or gas oil.
The vessels will join the existing seven methanol-fuelled vessels chartered by WFS. In 2016, WFS, Marinvest, Mitsui OSK Lines, Ltd, and Westfal-Larsen Management announced delivery of these seven ocean-going vessels.
Methanex said that as a safe, biodegradable and clean-burning fuel, methanol is a promising alternative marine fuel that can meet new and existing environmental regulations from the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
This requires vessels to decrease emissions of sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxides. By using methanol rather than conventional marine fuel, the vessels produce significantly fewer emissions than conventional vessels.
The four new vessels will be built in Korea at Hyundai Mipo Dockyard, where several of the first generation of methanol-fueled vessels were built.
WFS will charter the four vessels to replace older vessels and support growing demand for methanol. Two of the vessels will be owned in a joint venture between WFS and Marinvest, one will be owned by NYK and the fourth owned in a joint venture between IINO and Mitsui.
Marinvest’s chairman Patrik Mossberg said: “Our overall focus in the development of the dual-fuel system concept has been safety and engine reliability. We have found the technology for handling methanol is well developed and offers a safe dual-fuel solution for low-flashpoint liquid fuels.”
Waterfront Shipping is a subsidiary of Methanex and specialises in global marine transport of bulk chemicals and clean petroleum products to markets in North America, Asia Pacific, Europe and Latin America. It has the world’s largest methanol ocean-tanker fleet.