Smart, green and integrated Transport - FASTWATER



“FAST Track to Clean and Carbon-Neutral WATERborne Transport through Gradual Introduction of Methanol Fuel: Developing and Demonstrating an Evolutionary Pathway for Methanol Technology and Take-up” (FASTWATER) is a 4-year project sponsored within Horizon 2020 programme of the European Commission. This 6.7 M€ project coordinated by Prof. Sebastian Verhelst has 14 partners all over Europe, gathering industry and academia, aims at greening maritime transportation.

Project descriptionMethanol-tug.jpg

FASTWATER focuses on methanol, a clean fuel, available in large quantities in most ports today and offering a pathway to a climate-neutral synthetic fuel produced from renewables. Methanol is suited for internal combustion engines, gas turbines as well as fuel cells. As a liquid fuel, it is easily stored on board, which is advantageous to ship design, and enables relatively simple retrofitting. Consequently, the EU’s Joint Research Centre’s study on alternative fuels for shipping states that methanol is one of the most promising options to decarbonise the shipping sector. FASTWATER aims to start a fast transitionary path to move waterborne transport away from fossil fuels, and reduce its pollutant emissions to zero impact, through the use of methanol fuel. The FASTWATER consortium has a strong track record with methanol projects (particularly for waterborne transport) and includes shipyards, a ship owner, engine manufacturers, an equipment supplier, a classification society, a methanol producer, a major port and research institutes.


  • To develop and demonstrate universal, scalable retrofit kits, medium speed and high speed methanol engines on a harbour tug, a pilot boat and a coast guard vessel. A complete design for a methanol-powered river cruiser is also included.
  • To develop the next generation of methanol engines, that fully exploit methanol’s beneficial properties as an engine fuel, for increased efficiency and even lower emissions.
  • To show the complete chain from renewable methanol production, ship bunkering, simplification of rules and regulations for methanol as a fuel, to training programme for crew.
  • To elaborate business plans including the life cycle performance analysis of investment cost, fuel cost, CO2 savings and pollutant reductions, to commercialize the developed solutions

Role of Ghent University

The Ghent University team leads the research on next generation methanol engines operated with spark-ignition. Ghent University also supports the development of retrofit kits, demo boats, business model and project management.



Prof. Sebastian Verhelst
Department of Electromechanical, Systems and Metal Engineering
Phone number: +32 9 264 3306