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Boskalis Consortium Wins Grant to Research Green Methanol for Emissions-Free Shipping Transition

Mike Schuler
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December 6, 2021

Dutch dredging company Royal Boskalis says it is part of a consortium that has been awarded a EUR 24 million research grant to advance green methanol as an alternative fuel for emission-free shipping.

The program is sponsored by the Dutch Governments’ Netherlands Enterprise Agency and titled Methanol as an Energy Step Towards Zero-Emission Dutch Shipping. The aim of the research is to “develop clean energy technology with a high degree of flexibility and broad applications within the shipping industry, from yacht building to offshore work ships and high-powered dredgers,” according Boskalis, which announced the funding.

The total research budget will amount to approximately EUR 38 million, including a contribution from Boskalis. The program will seek to six different vessel types to test the viability of methanol fuel systems.

“Alternative fuel types are the most significant driver for developing a more sustainable maritime industry and we continue to be at the forefront of initiatives exploring the emission-reduction potential presented by methanol and other clean technologies,” said Peter Berdowski, CEO of Boskalis. “This research program looking into the use of methanol as a low-carbon fuel is another important step along the road to realizing net-zero objective.”

Boskalis is already part of a joint industry project known as the Green Maritime Methanol Consortium which has previously researched the feasibility of methanol as a sustainable fuel for the maritime sector. Other members of the consortium including Damen, DEME, Royal IHC and Van Oord, among others.

A 2020 study supported by TKI Maritiem and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy showed that the use of methanol is not yet economically viable for retrofits in Boskalis’ fleet, however further research is currently being carried out with regard to its suitability for newbuild vessels.

Maersk, a Danish company and owner of the world’s top shipping line, is also looking at green methanol fuel to reduce and eventually eliminate carbon emissions from its shipping operations.

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