Auramarine Prepares to Help Shipping Switch to Green Methanol
The Maritime Executive recently caught up with Finnish supplier Auramarine, which has developed one of the industry’s first methanol fuel supply systems in order to meet the growing interest in green alternatives. The modular system can be used in retrofit projects to convert two- or four-stroke engines to dual-fuel methanol service, and testing is now under way.
"There is a lot of positive development now in the marine industry for greener fuels. It's an area in which process industries - paper, chemicals, even mining - have been way ahead of us, so now is definitely the time to catch up," says John Bergman, Auramarine's CEO. "There are opportunities to bring developments from these industries into the marine sector."
Auramarine is using its broad experience in fuel supply systems to help support the green transition. The firm is looking at methanol supply systems as its first priority, as well as equipment for biofuels and ammonia as a marine fuel, Bergman says.
Methanol is among the most accessible green fuel alternatives. It is a widely-traded industrial commodity, and its properties and handling procedures are familiar to the industry. Though it needs well-designed Ex-proof equipment to use, it has significant advantages: it does not need pressurized or refrigerated storage, it can be burned in conventional marine engines (with adaptation), and it does not have the toxicity challenges of ammonia. Maersk Line is pursuing zero-carbon green methanol as its future fuel of choice, and competitor CMA CGM has placed orders for methanol-fueled boxships as well.
Bergman agrees that securing an adequate supply of green fuel will be the main challenge. "It's definitely a long way to go to make sure that we generate enough green electricy to really make sure that the whole fuel value chain is green," he says. "I think for a long period of time, we will see several fuels in different regions, and there will not be one fuel that is dominant. Methanol is the one we see positioned for success because of its energy density, availability and handling properties."
Auramarine is working with customers and yards on its first methanol fuel supply system now, and it expects to have its first unit by 2023 - just in time for the company's 50th anniversary.