Another step forward for marine methanol use

There are currently eight ships trading internationally operating on Methanol as fuel including the ropax Stena Germanica Photo: Stena Line There are currently eight ships trading internationally operating on Methanol as fuel including the ropax Stena Germanica Photo: Stena Line

The IMO has invited the International Standards Organisation (ISO) to develop a standard for methanol as a marine fuel, in a move hailed by the Methanol Institute as a step forward for the fuel's commercial adoption.

ISO will now work to develop the standards and provide them as soon as possible, the first time it has considered this fuel type.

“A dedicated ISO standard will help shipowners understand the fuel in a marine fuel context,” said Chris Chatterton, MI chief operating officer.

“We are seeing increasing interest around Methanol as a liquid fuel that is safe to handle easy to ship and store and is more widely available than other low sulphur alternatives.”

Industry adoption

There are currently eight ships trading internationally operating on Methanol as fuel – the ropax Stena Germanica and seven tankers operated by Waterfront Shipping with at least four more expected to enter into service in 2019.

Several recent research projects have independently confirmed Methanol’s suitability as a suitable replacement for conventional marine fuels in coastal, inland and shortsea sectors.

“A comment was made during MSC 99 that fuel standards should be developed before ships begin using such low-flashpoint fuels so that safety concerns are adequately addressed before, not after, larger numbers of ships start using them,” said Unni Einemo, IBIA’s IMO Representative.

“However, ISO has traditionally developed fuel standards only after user experience to be able to assess which parameters need to be specified, and also what relevant limits should be.”

The decision to invite ISO to develop standards for methanol fuel use for ships was taken at MSC 99 which discussed the report from the fourth session of the Sub-Committee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC).

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