Methanex claims the world’s first net-zero voyage powered by bio-methanol

Methanex Corporation and Mitsui OSK Lines announced this week that the dual-fuel vessel Cajun sun successfully completed the first net-zero journey powered by bio-methanol.

The Cajun sun will be operated by Methanex subsidiary Waterfront Shipping and chartered from MOL. The net zero voyage departed from Geismar, Louisiana in the United States on January 17 and arrived in Antwerp, Belgium approximately two and a half weeks later.

By mixing ISCC certified Biomethanol, which has negative carbon intensity with natural gas-based methanol, achieved net-zero greenhouse gas emissions on a life-cycle basis for the 18-day transatlantic voyage, Methanex said in a news release.

The voyage is an example of how Methanex and MOL are working together to demonstrate the viability of methanol as a marine fuel with a path to net-zero emissions in support of the shipping energy transition.

Waterfront Shipping became an early adopter of methanol as an alternative marine fuel in 2016 when they jointly built the world’s first ocean-going methanol dual-fuel tanker Named Taranaki sun with Methanex and MOL. Today Waterfront Shipping operates a fleet of 19 deep sea tankers equipped with methanol dual fuel technology.

Methanol is emerging as a promising alternative fuel that can help shipping meet its increasingly stringent emissions targets. Not only is it one of the most traded chemicals in the world, but it is also readily available in most of the world’s top ports and its use can be integrated into existing bunkering infrastructure, making it a popular alternative fuel choice for ship owners.

According to classification society DNV, 35 new ships were ordered using the fuel in 2022, mainly in the container shipping sector but also in other areas such as heavy lift, ranking it as the second most popular alternative fuel behind LNG.

Compared to conventional marine fuel, methanol significantly reduces emissions of sulfur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter, as well as CO2 emissions. Methanol produced from renewable sources can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 95 percent compared to conventional marine fuels and offers a path to meet the International Maritime Organization (IMO) decarbonization goals. Bio-methanol is a type of renewable methanol made from biomass feedstock rather than fossil fuels, and can be blended with traditional methanol or other fuels to improve their carbon footprint.

“We are proud to offer the shipping industry a tangible solution to transition to net-zero emissions through our blended methanol product using biomethanol produced from renewable natural gas at our Geismar facility,” said Mark Allard, Senior Vice President of Methanex. Low CO2 solutions. “As the world’s largest methanol producer, we are building a network of relationships with leading renewable natural gas providers and exploring other avenues, including carbon capture and storage and e-methanol, to provide solutions for the marine industry and other customers.”

MOL acquired a 40% interest in Waterfront Shipping for $145 million in early 2022 and formed a strategic partnership to help develop the market for lower-emission methanol marine fuel.

“We are excited to complete the net zero journey by using bio-methanol. This is another example of what we can achieve together in our long-term partnership with Methanex and Waterfront Shipping, which was cemented in early 2022 when we acquired a 40% stake in Waterfront Shipping,” said Kazuhiro Takahashi, Executive Officer of MOL, responsible for the bunker business breakdown. “MOL, as a pioneering shipping company, is committed to reducing the environmental impact of the shipping sector. The use of methanol, which can be readily adopted today, is one of the promising alternative fuels. Through the development and use of alternative fuels in the global shipping industry, we also contribute to different stages of the supply chain.”

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