Aasen Shipping Orders Hybrid Self-Dischargers Expanding Methanol Trend

methanol-ready cargo ships
Three self-discharger cargo ships will be built methanol-ready (Royal Bodewes)

Published Nov 3, 2023 4:57 PM by The Maritime Executive


The trend toward the adoption of methanol and the use of hybrid systems to address the need to reduce emissions is continuing to spread to more segments of the shipping industry. In the latest step, Dutch shipbuilder Royal Bodewes reports it will build three methanol-ready self-discharger general cargo ships with hybrid battery systems for the Norwegian company Aasen Shipping.

Methanol continues to expand into more segments of the shipping industry as the preferred alternative fuel for the next generation of shipping and helping shipowners protect their investments by making current ships future-ready. Data from DNV shows that 14 methanol-fueled ships were ordered last month. This included bulkers, tankers, and car carriers, and last week Boskalis reported the order of the first dredger that will be built to operate on methanol.

The new ships will continue Aasen’s efforts of the past few years building a pathway to decarbonization. The three new general cargo ships, which will be 9,400 dwt, will continue on that path. Royal Bodewes reports they will have similar dimensions to two previous vessels delivered in 2021 and 2022 as the first hybrid self-dischargers as they were equipped with batteries and an electric engine alongside the main MGO-fueled main engine.

The three new vessels will be 393.5 feet in length. They will be equipped with a W?rtsil? 6L25 main engine that can produce 2250 kW. Expanding on the previous class, the new ships will have a large battery pack, which will enable peak shaving for both the main engine and the auxiliary engine. The cargo handling equipment will be electric, which will again reduce noise and emissions. In port, they can also use shore power for all of their cargo handling.

Royal Bodewes notes that becoming emission-free is the biggest challenge. The new vessels are being built methanol-ready. Once green methanol becomes available, they report the ships can be easily rebuilt for the new alternative fuel.

The shipyard previously built the Aasfjell (2021) and the Aasfoss (2022) for Aasen. They were equipped with a 535 kWh battery pack to power the electric excavator for loading and unloading. They also added in the peak shaving capability while the vessels are at sea. It permits the batteries to provide the extra load in heavy seas or store excess power in normal conditions so that the main engine can be operated at a more stable and efficient level.

The three new ships are scheduled for delivery in December 2025, April 2026, and September 2026.