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Green Methanol Cooperation to develop green methanol for shipping

Germany-headed power and gas major Uniper SE has revealed that it is working with compatriot shipping service provider Liberty Pier Maritime Projects GmbH & Co. KG (Liberty Pier) and the engineering firm Ship Design & Consult GmbH (SDC) to establish green methanol on the market as a sustainable and carbon-neutral marine fuel. The trio has formed an open collaboration — the Green Methanol Cooperation (GMC) to develop the infrastructure and logistics framework needed to supply methanol in Europe.

Barges passing IJHaven in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The Green Methanol Cooperation (GMC), a new initiative formed by Uniper SE, Liberty Pier Maritime Projects GmbH & Co. KG (Liberty Pier), and Ship Design & Consult GmbH (SDC) to establish green methanol on the market as a sustainable and carbon-neutral marine fuel aims to develop the infrastructure and logistics framework needed to supply green methanol in European short-sea and inland shipping.

According to a 2017 report by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from shipping amounted to about 932 million tonnes in 2015. As a result, international and national regulators are setting new and ambitious standards and limits – the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has set a reduction target of 70 percent by 2050 compared to 2008.

Methanol a clean shipping fuel

In tandem, the maritime industry and energy companies are also pursuing sustainable marine fuels of their own accord. Methanol, and in particular green methanol, is widely seen as an alternative maritime fuel for decarbonization, both for European coastal shipping and international deep-sea shipping. It can also be used for specialist applications, such as cruise ships and inland navigation.

As a hydrogen carrier, green methanol is easier to transport and store than green hydrogen. It burns clean, is liquid at ambient temperatures and pressures, and is also biodegradable. Green methanol is carbon-neutral overall, as it is produced using hydrogen from renewable sources and CO2 sourced from the atmosphere via direct air capture (DAC) or via a biogenic feedstock such as a biomass energy plant, biogas, or fermentation plant.

Green Methanol Cooperation

Against this background, Uniper, Liberty Pier Maritime Projects, and SDC Ship Design & Consult have joined forces to form an open collaboration — the Green Methanol Cooperation (GMC). The GMC will develop the infrastructure and logistics framework needed to supply methanol in Europe and establish the relevant shipping requirements.

Providing and using green methanol as a fuel for the maritime industry is a logical step in the implementation of our hydrogen strategy within the wider framework of our decarbonization efforts. With Liberty Pier and SDC, we have gained two experienced and knowledgeable partners from the maritime industry who want to collaborate with us to establish green methanol as a maritime fuel on the market, said David Bryson, COO of Uniper SE.

A medium-term goal of the GMC is to build ships that can use green methanol in their engines. The project will initially focus on European coastal shipping using ships with a load capacity of 5 300 and 8 300 tonnes and container feeders.

Working with Uniper and SDC in an open collaboration reflects the current requirements for European short-sea shipping — all parties involved, from suppliers, tonnage providers and regulators through asset providers and shipping agents, need to work together to further develop and modernize this sector, said Dietrich Schulz, CEO of Liberty Pier.

The three companies have committed to using a completely digitalized and transparent approach to their collaboration, allowing them to forge ahead with the project in accordance with the Poseidon Principles, a global framework for assessing and disclosing the climate alignment of financial institutions’ shipping portfolios, and environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) principles.

All three partners are certain that green methanol will play an important role in the maritime fuels sector in the future:

The targets for reducing CO2 emissions in shipping can be implemented rapidly and economically if we start with the technology onboard and use green methanol as fuel, said Michael Wächter, Managing Director of SDC.

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