Berge Bulk and ABS to Explore Methanol Fuel Conversions

Photo courtesy Berge Bulk

Berge Bulk and ABS to Explore Methanol Fuel Conversions

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 914
April 25, 2023

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 for converting vessels to methanol-fueled propulsion systems.

The two companies will work together to review the technical and economic feasibility of the conversion, as well as the availability and practicalities of bunkering methanol fuel.

The project is set to kick off in the first quarter of 2024 and represents a significant step forward in the development of methanol as a marine fuel.

The use of methanol in shipping has been gaining momentum in recent years due to its low emissions profile. Compared to traditional marine fuels, methanol emits significantly lower levels of sulphur oxide (SOx), nitrogen oxide (NOx), and particulate matter, and also offers a path to significantly lower carbon emissions through the use of e- or green methanol, which is made from renewable sources.

Berge Bulk owns and manages over 80 dry bulk vessels, equating to more than 14 million DWT capacity. The company has committed to an ambitious target of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2025 and sees methanol as a solution to its decarbonization efforts. The company is also experimenting with wind assisted propulsion, including deck-mounted wing and rotor sails, and shipboard carbon capture as it seeks to deploy commercially viable deep-sea zero-emission vessels by 2030.

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

The joint project agreement between Berge Bulk and ABS is seen as a critical step in retrofitting alternative fuel capability to the global fleet, which is essential to achieving sustainability goals in the shipping industry. The success of the project could pave the way for many other vessels to convert to methanol-fueled propulsion systems, as operators look to manage their decarbonization trajectories over a vessel’s lifespan.

“With practical benefits related to ease of storage and handling, tank-to-wake carbon intensity reduction, as well as a pathway to carbon neutrality through green methanol, methanol presents an immediate and promising solution,” said Christopher J. Wiernicki, ABS Chairman, President, and CEO.

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