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Study finds bio-methanol most cost-effective option for low draught ferries

A new case study carried out by Netherlands Maritime Technology, a trade association that represents Dutch shipyards, maritime suppliers, and maritime service providers, has found that bio-methanol is the most suitable ánd future-proof fuel for low-draught ferries with a fixed route bunkering.

A new case study carried out on the Adler Rüm Hart ferry by Netherlands Maritime Technology, a trade association that represents Dutch shipyards, maritime suppliers, and maritime service providers, has found that bio-methanol is the most suitable ánd future-proof fuel for low-draught ferries with a fixed route bunkering (photo courtesy Netherlands Maritime Technology).

Dutch ship designers and engineers, Conoship International BV has a long track record of designing and building ferries, especially for the Dutch and German Wadden Sea. A ferry poses many challenges in regard to passenger safety regulations while zero-emission, or carbon-neutral, also poses several challenges regarding onboard safety.

Combining this experience and the need for sustainable ‘green’ transport solutions and the research for a carbon-neutral ferry, Netherlands Maritime Technology was engaged by Conoship to conduct a case study on an existing ferry – the Adler Rüm Hart ferry.

The Adler Rüm Hart is lightweight aluminum and very compact catamaran passenger ferry with room for 250 passengers, sailing up to 18 knots at 750 kW on the shallow waters of the Wadden Sea. The vessel is designed according to the strictest environmental standards, minimizing ecological impact.

For example, non-biocide coating is applied and the design complies to the environmental lable Blauer Engel “Umweltfreundliches Schiffsdesign“ and “Umweltschonender Schiffsbetrieb“.

The innovative hull of the catamaran was designed and optimized to reduce ship resistance, keeping fuel consumption to a minimum.

Positive conclusions

The overall conclusion of the case study is that it could be possible to sail on bio-methanol, since it will not have a significant effect on the general design of the ship. However, some systems need to be changed to achieve the functional requirements of the rules. The keyword being ventilation.

Furthermore, that bio-methanol is the most suitable ánd future-proof fuel currently available and its properties make it suitable for a ferry with a fixed route bunkering. Compared to hydrogen, it is readily available and usable, emissions are largely reduced and, unlike liquefied natural gas (LNG), it can reach carbon dioxide (CO2) neutrality when it’s from a biomass source or synthetically produced with renewable energy.

The development of a ferry on bio-methanol is new, and so is the regulatory process. Lloyds Register is working with Conoship towards a Class assessment for the design of this methanol-powered ferry.

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