DFDS advances methanol use plans for shipping fleet as part of climate goals



Shipping company DFDS plans to introduce small amounts of methanol in the existing propulsion machinery on many of its vessels as part of its climate action plan to curb its carbon footprint.

“DFDS’ climate plan will make us climate neutral by 2050. Our short-term plan is to reduce emissions by about 45 % from 2008 to 2030,” the company said in a statement on Sept. 8.

This comes after it said recently that it was adopting three tracks in this regard, with the first two covering the tonnage adaption in short term and long term, as well as a third track ‘getting the house in order’ that covers all other things like facilities and terminal equipment.

Decarbonizing the shipping industry is “quite difficult and expensive,” an industry source said Sept. 9.

“But we’re already seeing many green alternatives being developed worldwide,” he said, adding that ammonia, methanol and hydrogen have already started featuring in many discussions.

Together with onsite-produced hydrogen, DFDS will inject the methanol into combustion chambers, replacing up to 10%-15% of the heavy fuel oil needed to fuel the same voyage currently, the company said.

“This technology is still under development and we expect it to be approved by engine manufacturers during 2020. We have already done initial testing and the results look promising,” it added.

Through this action, DFDS said it hopes to be able to push the market demand for sustainable fuels like green methanol, one of several fuel sources it continues to investigate.

Meanwhile, DFDS is also taking steps to ensure more efficient hulls as well as planning to use artificial intelligence, or AI, to aid its crew in its operations and to monitor vessel performance.

“This [AI] data will inform us about where we have excessive fuel consumption, both on routes and on individual vessels,” it said.

“We will use solutions like correct coating on vessel hulls and decision support systems onboard and in the office. But the fleet will also undergo major upgrades, with modifications of bulbs and propellers,” it added.

Methanol push

“Environmental issues are key now,” and shipping companies are increasingly targeting solutions to achieve these targets, another industry source said Sept. 9.

The International Maritime Organization, in April 2018, laid out its strategy on greenhouse gases, or GHG, emissions, aiming to cut the shipping industry’s total GHG emissions by at least 50% from 2008 levels by 2050, and to reduce CO2 emissions per transport work by at least 40% by 2030.

Methanol bunkering is set to receive a boost in the near future as maritime decarbonization becomes a focal point for shipping after a fairly smooth transition to the IMO’s global low sulfur mandate, market sources said.

The latest launch of a bunkering technical reference document that outlines the procedures required for the safe bunkering of methanol and incorporates dedicated checklists to assist industry stakeholders is a step in that direction, they said.

Meanwhile, the International Organization for Standardization, or ISO, is also currently engaged in developing a standard for methanol as a marine fuel, heralding another positive sign for its long-term prospects.

Source: Platts