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Methanol Likely to Gain Traction as Clean, Cheaper... According to an article in August 18th's Bunkerworld, methanol is increasingly being recognized as a clean and competitive alternative to traditional bunker fuel, although there are still hurdles...

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Methanol Powered Triumph to Attempt to to Break the... Triumph Motorcycles will be attempting to take the motorcycle land speed record this month.  The British bike manufacturer has moved one step closer to achieving that goal by reaching a speed of 441kph...

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Mack Trucks Announces Heavy-Duty DME Truck Assessment... At a press conference in New York City, Mack Trucks President Dennis Slagle announced that Mack Trucks is partnering with New York City's Department of Sanitation (DSNY) to explore the use of DME as an...

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MI Attends First Plenary Meeting of the Extended European... Following its nomination as a member to the European Sustainable Shipping Forum, MI's EU Chief Representative Eelco Dekker attended the plenary meeting in Brussels this week. The ESSF is chaired...

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MI-LIAM Programs Highlighted in Media Article The Sydney Morning Herald reported on May 24 about the latest public health incidents caused by adulterated alcohol consumed in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.  Twelve people died after drinking the toxic...

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Methanol Likely to Gain Traction as Clean, Cheaper Bunker Fuel


Category : General


According to an article in August 18th’s Bunkerworld, methanol is increasingly being recognized as a clean and competitive alternative to traditional bunker fuel, although there are still hurdles to cross before it can be widely adopted. Growing awareness and pressure to cut emissions are, however, likely to spur its use in the future.

The tendency to look at methanol as a marine fuel is relatively recent and is driven by the recent surge in production capacity, particularly in the US, where supply has burgeoned thanks to cheap gas from the shale plays.

Global methanol production capacity exceeds 120 million metric tons/year, according to industry estimates. International shipping consumes more than 300 million mt/year of bunker fuel, with the North Sea and Baltic Sea Sulfur Emission Control Areas (SECA) accounting for over 20 million mt/year of consumption, according to a report published by the FC Business Intelligence and the Methanol Institute in 2015.

Not all ships within the SECAs can be expected to convert to methanol quickly, mainly because not all engines are suitable for conversion, and the rate of fleet renewal is slow.

Replacing even 5% of the fuel oil used in the Northern European SECA would use 2 million mt/year of methanol and reduce pollution significantly, Dom LaVigne, director of Government & Public Affairs, Asia Pacific and Middle East, at the Methanol Institute, a global trade association for methanol, said this week.

This is an important development due to stricter emissions control in the maritime industry brought about by the enforcement of SECAs in North America, the Caribbean and in the North and Baltic Seas. Countries such as China are also making a concerted effort to curb ship-generated air pollution by limiting the sulfur content in fuels.

A number of companies are already investing in the capability to use methanol as a marine fuel.  MI member Methanex’s fully owned subsidiary Waterfront Shipping plans is chartering seven 50,000 dwt vessels built with dual-fuel engines that can run on methanol as part of its plan to replace older vessels and expand its fleet.

Swedish ferry and freight operator Stena Line was also looking to use methanol as a marine fuel, LaVigne said. The company has undertaken a large scale project to convert four main engines on its cruise ferry Stena Germanica to run on methanol and diesel.

Several others including Lloyd’s Register, Sweden-based ScandiNAOS AB and Singapore-based MI member Billion Miles were working towards energy-efficient sustainable shipping, LaVigne said.

Supported by the Maritime Innovation & Technology fund created by the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore, Billion Miles is pioneering a methanol fuel blend system for marine engines.

In the future, it is expected that methanol will increasingly gain acceptance as technology advances and more vessels are converted to run on methanol.  The full article can be viewed by those with a Bunkerworld subscription HERE.

Methanol Powered Triumph to Attempt to to Break the Motorcycle Land Speed Record


Category : General

Triumph Methanol MotorcycleTriumph Motorcycles will be attempting to take the motorcycle land speed record this month.  The British bike manufacturer has moved one step closer to achieving that goal by reaching a speed of 441kph (274.2mph).

This feat took place at the Mecca of speed record attempts, the famed Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, with Isle of Man TT legend Guy Martin at the controls of the streamlined Triumph. The previous 46 year-old Triumph record set by Bob Leppan in the Gyronaut X-1 was 395kph (245.6mph). This mark was comfortably surpassed by Martin, and also showcases the confidence that the rider has gained on the salt surface. Sharing his thoughts Guy said: “It’s good and we are moving in the right direction, but it is just one step on the way to what me and team are here to do.”

The purpose-built streamliner features a carbon Kevlar monocoque and has dimensions of 7772mm, 610mm and 914mm in length, width and height respectively. Motivation required for the record attempt is provided by two turbocharged, methanol-powered Triumph Rocket III engines, collectively producing an insane 1,000bhp at 9,000rpm.  More information is available HERE.

Mack Trucks Announces Heavy-Duty DME Truck Assessment with New York City


Category : General

Oberon LogoAt a press conference in New York City, Mack Trucks President Dennis Slagle announced that Mack Trucks is partnering with New York City’s Department of Sanitation (DSNY) to explore the use of DME as an alternative fuel in the city’s waste management fleet. The city, which runs the largest municipal sanitation department in the world, will begin assessing DME in a Mack Pinnacle axle back DayCab model equipped with a 13 liter Mack MP8 engine running on DME.

Mack Trucks dominates the North American refuse market, and is the main supplier of heavy-duty trucks to the DSNY, supplying more than 90% of the DSNY’s fleet of 7,000 vehicles. The DSNY already uses some alternative fuel options such as compressed natural gas (CNG). The agency’s commissioner Kathryn Garcia has expressed interest in evaluating cleaner burning options, including DME, which she says is “attractive because it’s very clean and behaves like diesel” when comparing torque and horsepower ratings. The ability to produce DME from a variety of methane sources, including food waste, has been highlighted as another potential benefit. “Trash has value because it can be converted into energy,” Garcia said.

For these reasons, MI member Oberon Fuels has been developing the NYC market for close to 4 years. “NYC along with cities around the world have passed aggressive organic waste recycling programs and bold greenhouse gas reduction targets – the perfect scenario for a clean-burning, low carbon fuel such as DME,” shared Rebecca Boudreaux, Ph.D., President of Oberon Fuels. “We are excited to provide Oberon DME for this demonstration with DSNY, the first customer in the world to demonstrate a Mack DME-powered truck, and continue to build the global DME market with Mack Trucks and our industry partners.”

While some regulatory challenges still exist for DME, the largest hurdles have been overcome.  When Oberon Fuels began nearly 6 years ago, no regulations for DME as a fuel existed in the United States.  It is now legal to use DME as a fuel in all fifty states and Canada, international consensus standards have been published by the ASTM and ISO, and DME made via the Oberon process qualifies for US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Renewable Identification Number (RINs) credits.  More information on DME can be found at the International DME Association’s (IDA) website HERE.

MI Attends First Plenary Meeting of the Extended European Sustainable Shipping Forum


Category : General


Following its nomination as a member to the European Sustainable Shipping Forum, MI’s EU Chief Representative Eelco Dekker attended the plenary meeting in Brussels this week.

The ESSF is chaired by DG MOVE and consists of experts from 30 organisations, 28 member states and observers. The experts provide technical advice and expertise to the commission with regard to the implementation of the Sulphur Directive, but cannot take any binding decisions.

The scope of the ESSF has been broadened to also take into consideration other emissions like NOx, particulate matter and black carbon. The work package is divided across different sub-groups (e.g. LNG, exhaust gas cleaning systems, finance, competition, and others) which meet several times per year.

MI has initiated talks with various member states, NGO’s and shipowners to consider the option of an additional sub-group for alternative fuels (methanol, DME, ethanol, and others), and has received predominantly positive feedback.

MI-LIAM Programs Highlighted in Media Article


Category : General


The Sydney Morning Herald reported on May 24 about the latest public health incidents caused by adulterated alcohol consumed in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.  Twelve people died after drinking the toxic brew, known locally as miras oplosan, which costs US$1.50 per liter (34 ounces).

Methanol Institute staff approached The Herald about conducting a follow-up story on the methanol education programs that MI and The LIAM Charitable Fund have developed in Indonesia since 2013.  The newspaper interviewed MI’s Dom LaVigne and LIAM representatives Lhani Davies and Dr. Di Brown extensively on June 8-9.  The publication also spent the day with the LIAM team in Yogyakarta seeing firsthand the medical and community education programs which MI and LIAM are undertaking.

Both organizations feel strongly that a national protocol is needed to allow the use of oral ethanol for methanol poisoning treatment in suspected victims.  While the administration of ethanol (drinkable alcohol) for lifesaving purposes is still viewed as haram (prohibited to consume in Islam) in Indonesia, oral ethanol remains the most cost effective option for treating patients until they can undergo hemodialysis.  MI staff have been researching how to get IV ethanol and/or Fomepizole (options that might be more culturally acceptable) into Indonesia.  However, these options are significantly more costly, requiring extensive donor funding, and ultimately Indonesian Ministry of Health (MOH) approval.

The Sydney Morning Herald published its article on Sunday.  Several other international media picked up the story, including:  The Canberra Times and The Taranaki Daily News, which includes a large number of positive comments. The Sydney Morning Herald story can be found HERE.  The Taranaki Daily News story can be found HERE.

GreenPilot Boat Project Launched In Sweden


Category : General

GreenPilot3On Wednesday and Thursday, MI’s Greg Dolan, Chris Chatterton and Eelco Dekker participated in a workshop to launch the GreenPilot Boat project in Sweden.  Funded by the Swedish Maritime Administration and the Methanol Institute as part of the SUMMETH program (Sustainable Marine Methanol), the plan is to test three different 450 Kw engines in the pilot boat over the next year, with engines from China’s Weichai supplied by MI member FiTech, Scania and Volvo Penta.  The workshop featured presentations by ScandiNAOS, Stena Lines, Wartsila, Marinvest, Chalmers University, Lund University, Ghent University, Lulea University, VTT, and FiTech.

MI’s Greg Dolan provided an overview of the global methanol industry’s interest in marine fuels and sought feedback on the E4tech research recommendations around shipping.  Stena’s Per Stefenson noted that Stena Lines had now received six international awards for its work to convert the Stena Germanica to methanol fuel operation, with now three of four Wartsila engines running on methanol and the fourth to be converted in September.  Toni Stojcevski from Wartsila summarized the findings from their work on the engine testing that went into the Germanica conversion, and on-going development testing to further reduce emissions.  Several of Europe’s leading academic researchers presented papers on their latest work on methanol fuel developments, including work funded by MI to optimize a Scania engine to methanol operation led by Paivi Aakko-Saksa of Finland’s VTT.  FiTech CEO Kam Pui Koo discussed his company’s efforts to develop methanol engines for light- and heavy-duty road vehicles as well as marine vessels.

One of the highlights of the two-day session was a photo-op in front of the GreenPilot Boat, along with a converted SAAB running on methanol, a racing motorcycle fueled with methanol, and featuring the Stena Germanica steaming towards its Gothenburg dock and bunkering station.

GreenPilot Project Event to be held June 15-16, Gothenburg, Sweden


Category : General

GREEN PILOT PROJECTThe GreenPilot Project, in which MI is a partner, started on March 1 of this year with the goal of converting a Swedish Pilot Boat to methanol operation.

On 15-16 June, ScandiNAOS will host a seminar in Gothenburg presenting the GreenPilot project and also providing a status update on the development and introduction of methanol as a marine fuel.

Presenters will include MI CEO Greg Dolan, ScandiNAOS, Toni Stojcevski of Wartsila, Chalmers University of Technology, Lund Technical University, an update on the SUMMETH(Sustainable Marine Methanol) Project, and more.

The event will be held at restaurant and conference facilities adjacent to the ScandiNAOS offices at Klippan, Goteborg and a fee of €150 will be charged to non-project partners. The fee includes lunches both days and dinner on the 15th.

You can register for the event HERE.  Lodging is available HERE.

European Commission Sees Methanol as a “Most Promising” Alternative Marine Fuel


Category : General

European CommissionThe European Commission (EC) says that a new study from the Joint Research Centre (JRC) shows that fuels such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) and methanol are “the most promising” alternatives to conventional bunkers for reducing shipping sector emissions.

“Results show that from a long-term perspective, moving to LNG and methanol is strategically attractive as each of the two fuels has a biofuel counterpart, biomethane and biomethanol,” the EC said.

EC says that vessels and infrastructure built for LNG and methanol can also supply bio methane and bio methanol “without a large overhaul,” making it possible to use the two fuels as transition bunkers before completing a shift to biofuels.

However, their potential use will depend on a number of factors, including environmentally sustainable biomass feedstock for their production, cost-effective production technologies and ultimately on their market penetration.

“The EU aims to shift some of the road transport load to the more efficient marine and inland waterways systems,” said EC, noting that a specific renewable fuel mandate for shipping could complement the current road transport mandate.

Further, EC notes that the results of December’s COP21 summit in Paris makes this an advantageous time to invest in the shipping industry’s decarbonisation.  More information can be found HERE, and HERE.

FiTech Concludes Agreement on Methanol Fuelled Heavy-Duty Trucks


Category : General

FiTech - Beiben Trucks 4FiTech, MI’s newest member from China, recently concluded an agreement with Beiben Heavy-Duty Trucks of Baotou, Inner Mongolia, for the production of methanol fuelled, heavy-duty trucks based on Beiben’s popular V3 model, which was originally designed and built in a joint venture with Daimler-Benz.

The trucks will be available worldwide based on a modified Weichai engine designed by FiTech which requires no additional reconfiguration of the original V3 chassis. FiTech has exclusive global distribution rights for the Beiben methanol model with the first truck expected to roll off the assembly line in August, 2016.

MI and Partners Launch Successful Vietnam Methanol Education Programs


Category : General

Vietnam LaunchHanoi, Vietnam – On Tuesday, MI and Hanoi Medical University’s Institute for Preventative Medicine & Public Health (HMU-IPMPH) held a successful launch of their Vietnam Methanol Education Programs (VMEP), jointly supported by Bach Mai Hospital’s Poison Control Center (PCC) and The LIAM Charitable Fund.
More than 100 senior government officials, medical and public health experts, and media participated in the half-day workshop.  There was also extensive media coverage, including TV and print media interviews with HMU senior officials and MI’s Dom LaVigne.  Dom and Lhani Davies presented on the MI-LIAM collaboration in Indonesia and the work by MI’s Product Stewardship Committee and Bootleg Alcohol Prevention Subcommittee.  Professor Nguyen Duc Hinh (HMU President), Professor Le Thi Huong (Director of IPMPH), Dr. Nguyen Trung Nguyen (Director, PCC), and senior officials from Vietnam’s Ministry of Health (MOH), Vietnam Food Administration (VFA) also presented during the workshop.
MOH indicated that Vietnamese consumers drink 3.4 billion litres of beer and 600 million litres of liquor annually.  This is worth US$3 billion, or three per cent of the country’s GDP.
On Wednesday, HMU-IPMPH researchers and Dom LaVigne went to Phu Tho Province to begin a study on medical and community knowledge of adulterated alcohol and methanol poisonings, symptoms, and treatment.  Researchers also engaged homemade alcohol producers and took random product samples for testing.  They also met with key provincial officials to discuss public policy and law enforcement efforts to mitigate harm from adulterated beverages.
IPMPH expects to complete the study by July.  They and MI will share the results with member companies and other stakeholders.  From these findings, IPMPH and other partners will develop targeted medical, community, and alcohol producer trainings in Phu Tho and Hanoi.  MI is currently working with IPMPH and PCC to structure the VMEP’s strategic outreach and public communications initiatives for April-December. Vietnamese media coverage can be viewed HEREHEREHERE (in English) and HERE.