Methanol as a clean, low-emission
alternative ship fuel
The SPIRETH (“Alcohol (spirits) and ethers as marine fuel”) project will test a methanol-based fuel on board a ship and evaluate its potential to reduce emissions and improve environmental performance. Begun in 2012, the project aims to power an auxiliary diesel engine on a Swedish ropax vessel with a blend of methanol and di-methyl ether (DME) produced using a technology developed by Haldor Topsøe called “On Board Alcohol to Ether” (OBATE™). A diesel engine in a laboratory will be powered on both pure and raw methanol as a second project test stream.
The testing is expected to provide unique field-based information on emissions levels, engine performance, and operational costs. Methanol and DME fuels are expected to enable ships to comply with upcoming emissions regulations without any exhaust gas after-treatment. “Green” methanol, such as that produced in Sweden by gasification of biomass, can be combined with that produced from fossil fuel to help shipping meet CO2 reduction targets. The cost effectiveness and cost benefit of the methanol/DME systems will be assessed and compared to other methods of meeting emission control guidelines.
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