Eastern Pacific Shipping to Operate Methanol- and Ammonia-powered Vessels
Singapore-headquartered shipping company Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) said on Friday that it signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with OCI N.V. (OCI) and MAN Energy Solutions (MAN) to develop methanol and ammonia as marine fuels to aide in industry-wide decarbonization and environmental preservation efforts.
The partnership involves using select conventional vessels from EPS’ existing tanker fleet that use MAN engines to be retrofitted, allowing them to be powered by methanol and ammonia which will be supplied by OCI. Also, EPS will construct newbuild vessels with MAN engines powered by the same two alternative marine fuels. OCI intends to charter the first retrofitted vessel from EPS.
The announcement is in line with EPS’ agnostic approach to its alternative marine fuel program. The company already operates vessels that run in liquefied natural gas (LNG, and in 2020 it announced plans to trial biofuels.
EPS CEO, Cyril Ducau, said, “As a leading tonnage provider, EPS has taken a firm stance that sustainability begins with accountability. This means we have a responsibility to implement emission lowering solutions available today while simultaneously developing solutions for tomorrow. Converting our existing conventional fleet to burn methanol creates a unique opportunity to continue lowering our carbon footprint significantly and rapidly. In the meantime, developing ammonia-fueled conversion and newbuilding projects will help develop more mature zero-carbon solutions in the longer-term. We are excited about the next steps and to share our findings with the industry.”
Ahmed El-Hoshy, CEO of OCI NV, said, “The use of ammonia or methanol as a shipping fuel is particularly promising as these products are among the best-placed alternatives to help this sector decarbonize in a cost-effective way. We are confident that, in addition to the exciting developments on newbuilds, existing vessels can economically convert their engines to use our low-carbon products and help the industry meet its goals. We see this as starting with the adoption of grey/blue methanol and ammonia and then shifting to green as production costs come down, customer appetites move towards green and regulations continue to develop. Our products are perfectly positioned to fuel the transition and we believe the push towards low carbon fuels in the coming years will be met with the adoption of both methanol and ammonia as industry-standard fuels on a grey, blue and green basis. We are therefore pleased that we have signed this agreement with a leading tonnage provider in the shipping industry and the leading engine manufacturer, bringing together a comprehensive representation of the maritime value chain.”
Brian Østergaard Sørensen, Vice President and Head of R&D, Two-Stroke Business at MAN Energy Solutions, said, “We view these initiatives as closely aligned with our own strategy of cooperating with external partners to develop sustainable technologies. Methanol and ammonia are very interesting candidates as zero-carbon fuels. In fact, we have already introduced a methanol-burning two-stroke engine, while we expect to deliver the first ammonia-fueled engine in 2024. MAN Energy Solutions is fully committed to the maritime energy transition and the development of technology that exploits alternative, clean fuels.”
Jens Seeberg, Head of Retrofit & Upgrade at MAN PrimeServ Denmark, said, “For us, the path to decarbonizing the maritime industry starts with fuel decarbonization. Happily, the flexibility of the ME-C engine enables us to retrofit the existing fleet into methanol-fueled vessels that have a significantly reduced environmental impact. We look forward to moving with our industry partners towards these sustainable goals.”
The technology to retrofit a vessel to accept methanol as a fuel is available today and the intention is for OCI to charter the first retrofitted methanol fueled vessel operated by EPS using already in-service MAN engines and technology in the next two years.