Greg Dolan, CEO of the Methanol Institute, stated at the conference of the methanol industry group IMPCA in Miami on February 15 that renewable methanol is considered a feasible fuel choice in speeding the decarbonisation of maritime industries, as reported by S&P Global.
Surge in methanol projects
“We are witnessing clear evidence of an impending surge of bio-methanol and e-methanol production,” he said. “80 sustainable methanol projects have already been launched.”
The Methanol Institute and the International Renewable Energy Agency issued research that estimates that bio-methanol will cost $700-$900/mt and e-methanol will cost $1,200-$1,600/mt. Methanol production has the potential to reach 500 million metric tonnes per year by 2050, with about 400 million of those tonnes being bio- or electric-methanol.
Bio-methanol is methanol derived from waste streams, whereas e-methanol is produced using green hydrogen and CO2 capture. Both are categorised as green or renewable methanol.
Making the comparison
The carbon intensity of the fuel, in comparison to the fossil counterpart, will be one of the important factors in setting the price and level of demand because carbon intensity accounting is the ultimate goal of green methanol users.
Methanol’s carbon footprint can be decreased by 65%-90% depending on the feedstock and manufacturing procedure.
“MethanoI Institute and IMPCA working together assist the methanol industry in developing a common platform for carbon intensity accounting,” Dolan said.
Whether methanol is categorised as green or fossil, it still retains the same energy and chemical properties.
According to Dolan, methanol entered the maritime business in 2022 and saw a spike in methanol dual-fueled ships, with big shipping corporations taking the lead on orders.
The International Maritime Organization’s introduction of rules for the use of gases or other low-flashpoint fuels, like methanol, in maritime transport was the first major development. According to Dolan, Maersk’s initial vessel order, which was a result of its customers’ requests to lessen the carbon impact of the delivery of their goods, was the second game-changer.
“We are not transitioning to green methanol overnight,” he said of shipping. “It will be a journey.”
Following Maersk’s orders came others in a wide range that will run on methanol.
Engine manufacturer MAN had 82 large methanol engines on order, with 23 already in operation, and all other engine manufacturers were entering the methanol ship engines market, he said.
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Source: S&P Global