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Methanex and MOL complete first-ever net-zero voyage fuelled by bio-methanol

Methanex and MOL complete first-ever net-zero voyage fuelled by bio-methanol
The methanol-powered dual-fuel "Cajun Sun" arrived in the Port of Antwerp, Belgium on February 4, 2023, completing the first-ever net-zero transAtlantic voyage (photo courtesy Methanex).

Canada-headed Methanex Corporation (Methanex), the world's largest methanol producer, and shipping major Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL) have announced that the dual-fuel vessel “Cajun Sun” has successfully completed the first-ever net-zero transAtlantic voyage fuelled by bio-methanol.

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According to a statement, the voyage is an example of how Methanex and MOL are collaborating to demonstrate the viability of methanol as a marine fuel with a pathway to net-zero emissions.

The Cajun Sun, operated by Methanex’s subsidiary Waterfront Shipping and chartered from MOL, departed from Geismar, in the United States on January 17, 2023, and arrived in the Port of Antwerp, Belgium on February 4, 2023.

By blending International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) certified bio-methanol that has negative carbon intensity with natural gas-based methanol, net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on a lifecycle basis were achieved for the 18-day trans-Atlantic voyage of Cajun Sun.

We’re proud to bring the marine industry a tangible solution to transition towards net-zero emissions through our blended methanol product using bio-methanol produced from renewable natural gas at our facility in Geismar, US. As the world’s largest methanol producer, we are establishing a network of relationships with leading renewable natural gas suppliers and assessing other pathways, including carbon capture and storage and e-methanol, to provide solutions for the marine industry and other customers, said Mark Allard, SVP of Low Carbon Solutions at Methanex.

As a cleaner-burning marine fuel, conventional methanol meets the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO’s) pollutant emissions regulations, significantly reducing SOx by 99 percent, NOx by up to 80 percent, and PM by 95 percent compared to heavy fuel oil (HFO).

This innovative fuel solution offers shipping companies the ability to achieve additional net-zero carbon emissions today, supporting the industry’s transition to a low-carbon future.

We’re pleased to complete the net-zero voyage by utilizing bio-methanol. This is another example of what we can collectively accomplish in our long-term partnership with Methanex and Waterfront Shipping that was solidified in early 2022 when we purchased a 40 percent interest in Waterfront Shipping, said Kazuhiro Takahashi, Executive Officer responsible for Bunker Business Division at MOL.

The use of methanol as an alternative marine fuel was pioneered by Waterfront Shipping in 2016 when Methanex, Waterfront Shipping, and MOL, in conjunction with other key partners, jointly built the world’s first ocean-going methanol dual-fuel tanker, “Taranaki Sun.”

MOL, as a pioneering shipping company, is committed to reducing the environmental impact of the shipping sector. The use of methanol, which can be readily adopted today, is one of the very promising alternative fuels. We are also contributing to various stages of the supply chain through the development and usage of alternative fuels in the global shipping industry, Kazuhiro Takahashi said.

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