First Methanol-Powered Tankers Pass Operating Milestone

mari jone methanol powered ship
The dual-fuel Mari Jone. Photo courtesy MAN Energy Solutions

The world’s first methanol-powered tankers have passed each passed the 10,000 operating hours running on the clean-burning alternative fuel.

The two ships, the Mari Jone and Mari Boyle, are two of the first newly-constructed vessels powered by dual-fuel ME-LGI engines operating on methanol.

The 50,000 DWT tankers have been in operation since 2016. They were the first of seven methanol-powered chartered to Waterfront Shipping, a wholly owned subsidiary of Methanex Corporation. Combined, the seven-ship fleet has now passed a cumulative total of 50,000 cumulative operating hours on methanol.

The ME-LGI engines, developed by MAN Energy Solutions, are 2-stroke dual fuel engines that can run on methanol, fuel oil, marine diesel oil, or gas oil.

Methanol is considered to be a viable clean-burning alternative fuel to the shipping industry, which is facing increasingly stringent emissions regulations.

The seven vessels were developed as part of a joint project involving Waterfront Shipping Company, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL), Westfal-Larsen Management (WL) and Marinvest, a Swedish ship management company.

According to Marinvest, the Mari Jone and Mari Boyle have now collectively consumed 28,287 MT of methanol, eliminating approximately 990,000 kg of sulphur oxide emissions.

“When introducing methanol as a two-stroke marine fuel, we encountered the usual teething problems, including addressing the liner lubrication because of methanol’s potentially corrosive behavior,” said René Sejer Laursen, a Sales & Promotion Manager at MAN Energy Solutions. “However, the service experience gathered after 50,000 hours of cumulative operation has ironed all such problems out and the ME-LGI engines are now running smoothly with no maintenance issues. In fact, they are even showing an improvement in fuel efficiency.”