With the advent of new and troubling climatic phenomena, governments and international organizations all across the world are scrambling for solutions to the increasing carbon and GHG content in the atmosphere. The spillover of this is being felt in the marine industry as well, such as IMO’s 2030 and 2050 goals. Methanol is shaping up to become a promising alternative fuel, as it ticks most of the boxes that shipping operators desire in a fuel of the future. And acceptability of methanol is increasing probably due to the consideration that a perfect fuel that solves all our problems may never be discovered in time.
What Boxes Does Methanol Tick on the Perfect Fuel List?
Methanol has many things going for it but indisputably the most important factor in its favor is the maturity of the technology in handling methanol. Methanol has many uses in production and manufacturing other than it being used as a fuel, such as being used in the production of polymers namely, plastics, paints, varnishes, and cleaning products. All this has put methanol on the list of top 5 transported commodities in the world already, with a remarkable base of knowledge regarding the handling and transport of methanol present. This is a considerable edge over competitors such as Hydrogen and electricity used to drive ships as there is a well-developed infrastructure and supply chain already available for the production and transport of methanol.
There’s no doubting the magnitude of the problem. And the urgent need to tackle it. Maritime shipping accounts for nearly 3% of the world’s annual CO2 emissions, says the IMO. In 2018, IMO delegates agreed to cut emissions by 50% from 2008 levels by 2050. But with less than three decades to go, the target seems more unattainable than ever. Developing viable alternatives to diesel fuel is a more time-critical challenge than ever before. Can green ammonia solve shipping’s carbon crisis?
FleetMon supports students and research partners when it comes to providing AIS data for academic purposes. In 2020, a Ph.D. student from the Department of Engineering Science of the University of Oxford reached out to us to receive certain AIS data for a project on the decarbonization of crucial shipping routes.
As the world struggles to conquer the coronavirus and overcome the catastrophic economic impact of the pandemic, there have been frequent calls for an environmentally sustainable economic recovery and no return to the status quo a priori. Could green hydrogen and fuel cell technology propel ocean-going shipping into a sustainable, economically viable future?