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The world's first methanol-powered tug, Methatug. Photo courtesy Port of Antwerp-Bruges

The world's first methanol-powered tug, Methatug. Photo courtesy Port of Antwerp-Bruges

Port of Antwerp-Bruges Unveils World’s First Methanol-Powered Tugboat

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 441
May 16, 2024

The Port of Antwerp-Bruges has unveiled the world’s first methanol-powered tugboat, the Methatug, as part of its goal to become climate-neutral by 2050.

Methanol, a clean fuel that can be produced from renewable sources, offers lower emissions and can be used in new ships and retrofits. The Methatug project is part of the European FASTWATER initiative, funded by the Horizon 2020 program, which aims to demonstrate the feasibility of methanol as a sustainable fuel for the shipping industry.

The Methatug, with a 50 ton bollard pull, can store 12,000 liters of methanol, providing enough fuel for two weeks of work. The tug was converted with ‘dual fuel’ engines that run on both methanol and traditional fuel.

The Port of Antwerp-Bruges is the fifth largest bunker port globally. It aims to become a “full-fledge multi-fuel” port, where both inland and seagoing vessels can bunker not only conventional fuels, but also alternative, low-carbon fuels, such as methanol, hydrogen or electricity. The port marked its first methanol bunkering of a deepsea vessel earlier this year with Maersk’s green methanol-fueled containership, Ane Maersk. In December, the port witness the launch of the world’s first hydrogen-powered tug, the Hydrotug 1, in partnership with Belgian shipping group CMB.TECH.

“Together with our partners, we are pioneering with innovative technologies for the transition to alternative and renewable energy sources,” said Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of Port of Antwerp-Bruges. “The Methatug is a new and essential step in our efforts to make our own fleet greener and become climate neutral by 2050. Thanks to projects such as this, we are paving the way and hope to be an example and a source of inspiration for other ports.”

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