Berge Bulk and ABS study conversions of methanol fuels Ship’s crew

Singapore-based Berge Bulk, one of the world’s largest dry bulk shipping companies, has partnered with the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) to conduct a feasibility study into converting ships to methanol-fuelled propulsion systems.

The two companies will work together to assess the technical and economic feasibility of the switch, as well as the availability and viability of methanol fuel bunkering.

The project is scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2024 and will represent a significant step in the development of methanol as a marine fuel.

The use of methanol in shipping has gained importance in recent years due to its low emissions profile. Compared to traditional marine fuels, methanol emits significantly less sulfur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter, and also offers a route to significantly lower CO2 emissions through the use of e- or green methanol produced from renewable sources.

Berge Bulk owns and manages over 80 dry bulk carriers, representing a capacity of more than 14 million DWT. Committed to the ambitious goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2025, the company sees methanol as the solution to its decarbonization efforts. The company is also experimenting with wind-assisted propulsion, including deck-mounted wing and rotor sails, and onboard carbon capture to deploy commercially viable, zero-emission deepwater vessels by 2030.

“Existing technologies are available to convert methanol for use in our engines, while there are also methods to bunker methanol and use it onboard. As a leader in this industry, we are confident that this collaboration with ABS will accelerate our efforts towards a zero-carbon energy transition,” said James Marshall, CEO of Berge Bulk.

The joint project agreement between Berge Bulk and ABS is seen as a crucial step towards retrofitting alternative fuel capacity across the global fleet, which is essential to achieving sustainability goals in the shipping industry. The project’s success could pave the way for many other ships to switch to methanol-fueled propulsion systems as operators seek to manage their decarbonization pathways over a ship’s lifetime.

“With practical benefits in terms of ease of storage and handling, reducing carbon intensity from tank to wake, and a path to carbon neutrality through green methanol, methanol represents an immediate and promising solution,” said Christopher J. Wiernicki, Chairman of ABS , President and CEO.

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