Research Group Transport Technology is working on methanol as an alternative marine fuel

(04-04-2018) The Transportation Technology research group is involved in the European innovation project LeanShips. Ghent University aims to demonstrate methanol as an alternative marine fuel.

A major challenge that is faced by the shipping industry is the reduction of harmful emissions like soot, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur oxides (SOx). A possible solution is the introduction of methanol in the marine fuel pool. As one of the most widely shipped chemicals in the world, methanol is already present in most terminals. It is also biodegradable and more environmentally friendly than oil-based fuels. Being liquid at atmospheric conditions is a major advantage in handling, distributing and storing methanol. Also, methanol burns cleaner and emits less pollutants than diesel. 

In this Demo Case the goal is to convert an existing marine diesel engine to so-called Dual Fuel operation in which the engine runs on both methanol and diesel. In doing so, a substantial part of the original diesel consumption will be replaced with methanol with the corresponding improvement in emissions. To lower the threshold of adopting this technology, the converted engine will maintain 100% diesel capability.

The engine that is converted is a Volvo Penta D7C-B TA (265 hp), a high speed diesel engine used for smaller vessels. The engine performance data recorded on the engine will be used in life cycle emissions and cost calculations for two case study vessels. These case study results will be used to promote market uptake of the high speed methanol/diesel engine.

More information

More information about the project can be found on the UGent website or on the official LeanShips website.

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