Rotterdam Port Conducted World’s First Barge-To-Ship Methanol Bunkering

4 mins read  Sealuminati TeamMay 21, 2021

On Monday (10th May), Takaroa Sun – a methanol dual-fuel chemical tanker, became a part of the world’s first barge-to-ship bunkering of methanol fuel. A fully owned subsidiary alliance of NYK, the NYK Bulkship Pvt. Ltd. (headquarters, Singapore) is the proud owner of Takaroa Sun (49,000 dwt). Waterfront Shipping Company Limited, in collaboration with Royal Vopak N.V. and TankMatch B.V., leaded methanol fuel bunkering in the Port of Rotterdam. The bunkering operation was carried out by TankMatch with a bunker barge, MTS Evidence, at Royal Vopak's Vopak Terminal Botlek.

Hyundai MIPO Dockyard, South Korea made Takaroa Sun in the year 2019. Having the propulsion power of MAN Energy Solutions second-generation B&W ME-LGIM two-stroke dual-fuel engine, she was also technically enhanced to work on both, methanol and conventional marine fuel.

Methanol is potentially known for reducing carbon (CO2) emissions by nearly 15% during combustion if conventional fuel oil is taken as the benchmark. The biggest advantage of having methanol onboard is its 100% sulphur dioxide (NOx) free emissions. The emission levels of particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) are also lowered dramatically. Methanol is predicted to be one of the next-generation environmentally friendly fuels for future ships. Methanol is miscible in water. Adding to that is the point that methanol is liquid at room temperature. These characteristics are the reason for methanol being MARPOL Annex VI compliant for SOx emissions, particulate matter, and Tier III NOx emissions.

In the transition towards a low carbon future, methanol has its pivotal role to play. All of the firms engaged in the bunkering demonstration said that they practically believe and have evidence that signifies that methanol is a low-emission, safe, and easy-to-handle clean fuel.

"Methanol is globally available and has similar storage needs to conventional fuels," explained Dick Richelle, Commercial Director of Royal Vopak. "This demonstration proves that methanol bunkering is a safe and realistic option as a clean-burning fuel with a sustainable pathway."

"Bunkering with methanol requires a similar level of risk assessment and safety management as other conventional bunker fuels, and we found this process simple to manage and execute," says Andre Nieman, Chief Executive Officer of TankMatch.

Bunkering is the process of transporting fuel from a barge to a ship. The barge approaches the open (usually starboard) side of the vessel to perform the essential procedures under the keen supervision and guidance of authorities. This process is generally addressed along the quay or on the pier, but it can also be done from several no. of different places.

"Waterfront Shipping has been operating methanol-fueled ships for over five years now, accumulating over 100,000 combined operating hours—and has been bunkering methanol for its methanol dual-fueled vessels via cargo shore pipelines near Methanex’s production facilities," said Paul Hexter, President of Waterfront Shipping. "When appropriate safety measures are followed, we know that methanol is safe to ship, store, handle and bunker using procedures similar to conventional fuels. Today’s methanol bunkering demonstration is another step in helping the shipping industry with its journey to reduce emissions. "

Waterfront Shipping- a subsidiary of Methanex Corporation, is in line in terms of displaying leadership, being a parent firm, in the use of lower-emission methanol as a marine fuel. The period between 2021 and 2023 is foreseen to witness substantial growth in methanol-fuelled boats. The business is picking up steam, as an order for eight methanol-powered boats to be built in the same time frame has already been placed. With this recent purchase, nearly 60% of its 30-ship fleet will be fuelled by methanol dual-fuel technology, which emits fewer pollutants.

On February 3, the NYK Group ESG Story was released, which reflected the company's goals of further instilling ESG into its management strategy and delivering actions that contribute to the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) through commercial operations. NYK Group also has appropriate business plans to introduce some of the next-generation fuels, marginally minimizing the environmental effects, such as methanol. This would drive the firm to a higher level and add some value to them being referred to as the "sustainable solution provider".