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New methanol supply system improves safety and saves energy at sea

New methanol supply system improves safety and saves energy at sea
On September 14, 2023, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (centre), christened the world’s first methanol-enabled container vessel as “Laura Mærsk” by breaking a champagne bottle over the bow at a naming ceremony officiated by amongst others Robert Uggla, Maersk Chair and Vincent Clerc, CEO at Maersk (photo courtesy Maersk).

Denmark-headed fuel supply systems company Eltronic FuelTech A/S, an Eltronic Group company, has announced that it is now the first to offer equipment for supplying fuel from tanks to engines on methanol-powered ships that can save shipping companies both money as well as energy while enhancing safety.

The naming of Laura Mærsk, A.P. Moller-Maersk’s first methanol-powered container vessel, marked the start of more sustainable shipping.

In the wake of this milestone, Eltronic FuelTech has now launched a new fuel supply system – a so-called Low-flashpoint Fuel Supply System (LFSS) – for this particular class vessel.

In doing so, players in the shipping industry can now have an integrated fuel supply system from the fuel tank to the engine comprising a single supply system and fuel valve train which improves safety, cuts costs, and saves energy the company says.

Embracing green methanol as a fuel has been increasing markedly in recent years, and with the new LFSS system, we can make a significant contribution to the green transition of the shipping industry. In the past, several suppliers were required to put together a complete fuel supply system all the way from the fuel tank to the engine, but the fact that we can now supply the entire system brings multiple benefits, said Louise Andreasen, CEO at Eltronic FuelTech.

There are savings associated with the logistics, as the same container can be used for spare parts for the entire system, and fewer repair technicians will be required in connection with maintenance.

It’s a huge advantage for customers that it’s now available as a combined package so they no longer have to maintain the interfaces between two different systems. At the same time, when we deliver a combined solution, we can guarantee the safety of the entire system, Louise Andreasen said.

Reduce pump power consumption

While most other supply systems on the market use two pumps to pump the methanol around, Eltronic FuelTech has managed to create an LFSS with only one pump, thereby saving considerable energy.

In addition, it is now possible to adjust the pump depending on the engine load, so that only the right amount of methanol is supplied to the engine, something which has not been possible until now.

This means that if a ship is sailing slowly, the pump automatically adjusts to the load so that it only runs at 60 percent of full power for example. With other systems, unnecessarily large quantities of methanol are pumped around the system, which affects electricity consumption, especially on large ships. With the biggest engines on container ships, for example, the pumps usually use more than 100,000 kWh a year pumping the methanol from the fuel tanks to the engine. With our new supply system, we expect to be able to cut consumption by up to 40 percent, explained Louise Andreasen.

In addition to developing systems for a ship’s main engines, Eltronic FuelTech has also developed a compact combined system to supply the ship’s auxiliary engines with fuel from the tanks.

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