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Dutch shipbuilder Damen and Caterpillar Inc. have signed a memorandum of understanding for the development of a new series of methanol-powered tugs.
The MoU follows Damen’s recent delivery of its first all-electric RSD-E Tug 2513, named Sparky, to Ports of Auckland in New Zealand.
The methanol-ready CAT 3500E series dual-fuel pilot engines will be delivered to Damen by Pon Power in 2024 when the process of integration and testing will begin. The goal is to have methanol-powered vessels be production-ready in 2026.
“This will be a complex undertaking involving integrating the engines with all aspects of the ship’s control, monitoring, ventilation and other systems and will take place in close cooperation with the classification societies,” Damen said in a press release.
Damen says electrically-powered tugs are ideal for zero emission operations in harbors and terminals where low cost electricity can be easily accessed. It plans to offer fully-electric models with bollard pulls of 40, 60 and 80 tonnes, respectively, and methanol-fueled models with 60, 80 and 100 tonnes bollard pull.
“With its greater energy density than batteries, methanol delivers increased energy storage capacity, making it suited for longer duration operations while remaining CO? neutral. All the vessels will be equipped with a standard Emission Reduction System developed and delivered by Damen Sustainable Solutions B.V,” Damen said.
Joost Mathôt, Director of Products at Damen’s Workboats division, said the partners plan to begin operating pilot engines as soon as possible, to learn first-hand what it means to use methanol as a marine fuel.
“For Damen, the introduction of methanol-fueled propulsion systems is the logical next step in our drive towards low-emission propulsion right across our product range and an integral part of our drive to become the world’s most sustainable shipbuilder,” Mathôt said.
“Our collaboration with Damen Shipyards Group and Pon Power brings together immeasurable expertise that allows us to learn together and innovate to address the great challenge of the energy transition,” commented Brad Johnson, Vice President and General Manager Caterpillar Marine. “This is an exciting technical challenge to tackle, but most importantly, it fosters our industry’s goal to reach sustainable, low carbon operations.”
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