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Methanol, marine propulsion and the impact of emission legislations - The pursuit towards sustainable fuel alternatives within the maritime sector

Methanol, marine propulsion and the impact of emission legislations - The pursuit towards sustainable fuel alternatives within the maritime sector

Andreas Anderssen ; Chris Lewin
Göteborg : Chalmers tekniska högskola, 2016. 78 s.
[Examensarbete på grundnivå]

There is an apparent need to reduce environmental impact deriving from shipping and a shift to alternative fuels will be a key aspect in emission abatement and counterbalancing the effects of global warming. With the introduction of increasingly stringent emissions legislations, an increasing willingness to consider other fuel alternatives can be noted. Due to the complicated and expansive nature of the ancillary systems and infrastructure associated with LNG, other fuels alternatives have emerged. One of these are methanol, which has a higher compatibility with existing infrastructure and engine concepts, since it is a liquid fuel at normal ambient conditions. But the properties and characteristics of methanol also impose some technical challenges and safety concerns. The current low oil price imposes a competitive disadvantage for alternative fuels, which impedes a widespread introduction of methanol. To counteract this, the development and implementation of new regulations will be of importance. In order to be considered a feasible future fuel alternative, from a long term perspective, and prevail in competition with other fuel alternatives. Merely complying with existing regulations is not enough. Methanol will also have to meet future regulations and be widely available at a cost competitive selling price. Methanol is a frequently used chemical in everyday life as industrial raw material, but its potential as marine fuel has only been acknowledged in expert circles and there are currently only a few vessels operating on methanol. There is a lack of available test data related to methanol engines designed for marine applications. Hence, there are some uncertainties regarding the future potential of methanol, some of which have been discussed and emphasized in this thesis. There are ongoing projects that may serve to answer some of these unresolved questions. Representatives involved in these projects, as well as researchers with expertise in the field of marine fuels, have been interviewed in this essay. The projects mentioned include the conversion of a RO-PAX ferry to methanol operation and the new building of a set of methanol powered tankers. Some statements regarding a future project that concerns a retrofit of a pilot boat have also been included The report also includes a literature survey on some of the most frequently used fuels in the North European ECA and comparisons have been made in order to put methanol into context. The result suggests that there might not just be one solution to the issue of finding sustainable means for propulsion within the maritime industry, but rather a portfolio of solutions, resulting in a palette of fuels. The scope of this report is to assess how methanol fits into this palette and evaluate the future potential of methanol as a fuel.

Nyckelord: Methanol, Marine fuels, Emission abatement, Environmental assessment, North European ECA, Stena Germanica conversion



Publikationen registrerades 2016-11-23.

CPL ID: 245571

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