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Monday, October 19, 2020 

According to Dutch research organisation MARIN, the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) has extensively studied the use of green methanol as a ship fuel for its support vessels, concluding that green methanol has the potential to be the future fuel of choice for this application.

The RNLN' s 75m hydrographic survey vessels of the RNLN are condiered to be well suited for the application of methanol. An extensive study regarding hazardous areas and venting of methanol for safety purposes has been executed aspart of the Green Maritime Methanol project, resulting in the conclusion that methanol can be safely used onboard these vessels.

The existing diesel engines would be replaced by spark ignited engines being developed by Swedish engineers Scandinaos, with sufficient space for methanol bunkers below the waterline, which makes safety precautions easier to integrate. Currently the biggest challenges are the availability of suitable methanol-fuelled engines - both spark and compression ignited - of sufficiently high power ratings, alongside the availability of green methanol fuel. Another important issue that still deserves attention is the behaviour of methanol after venting to air, to ensure that vapours are safely managed within the maritime context.

The upgrade of the support vessels is scheduled to commence from 2023 and preparations are being made to implement methanol as a future fuel. The Green Maritime Methanolproject is supported by TKI Maritiem and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and runs until December 2020. MARIN is one of the partners.

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