The maritime industry has recognised that low flashpoint fuels like ethane, methanol and ethanol are very attractive choices from an environmental perspective because they are clean-burning and contain no sulphur. Thus, these fuels would ensure compliance with the European Commission Sulphur Directive.
Alternative fuels like ethane, methanol and ethanol are widely available globally but no specific infrastructure for marine fuel bunkering is in place yet.
Guidelines are currently in draft for the use of methanol and ethanol fuels on ships, for the future incorporation in the newly adopted IGF Code. Meanwhile, more projects and onboard experience with different ship applications would be beneficial for showing the potential of these fuels. The costs for developing the respective infrastructure are considered comparably low in comparison to the equivalent LNG infrastructure and it can be done economically on a small scale.
About the author: Benjamin Scholz is a Ship Type Expert for Gas Carriers at the leading classification society DNV GL – Maritime in Hamburg. As project manager he is responsible for different client and research projects with the focus of gas as ship fuel and liquefied gas carriers. As part of his assignments he is involved in the further development of the IGF-Code.