The green revolution of waterborne transport

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

Waterborne transport must become sustainable. The EU-funded FASTWATER project aims to reduce its greenhouse and pollutant emissions by using methanol fuel. Methanol is a clean fuel, available in large quantities in most ports, and can easily be stored on board. FASTWATER elaborates an evolutionary pathway for methanol, including retrofit solutions. The project will develop retrofit kits and methanol engines and demonstrate these in a harbour tugboat, a pilot boat and a coast guard vessel. A methanol powered river cruise vessel design is also included, as well as logistics and bunkering, revision of rules and regulations, and crew training. Eventually, FASTWATER will implement business plans including the life cycle performance analysis of costs, CO2 and pollutant reductions, to commercialise the developed solutions.

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. Specifically, FASTWATER will develop and demonstrate an evolutionary pathway for methanol technology, including retrofit solutions as well as next generation systems. Universal, scalable retrofit kits, medium speed and high speed methanol engines will be developed, demonstrated and commercialized. The demos include a harbour tug, a pilot boat and a coast guard vessel. A complete design for a methanol-powered river cruiser is also included. The demos will show the complete chain from renewable methanol production to ship bunkering, work with regulatory agencies to simplify rules and regulations for methanol as a fuel, and develop and use a training programme for crew. Finally, business plans will be elaborated including the life cycle performance analysis of investment cost, fuel cost, CO2 savings and pollutant reductions, to commercialize the developed solutions.

More information about the project can be found at the project website.