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Global Maritime Forum report sees methanol technologies ‘reaching commercial viability’

The Global Maritime Forum says that the newly-published fifth edition of its annual Zero-Emission Pilots and Demonstration Projects report ‘marks a milestone’ as many of the projects listed previously have now ‘progressed to commercial deployment’ and are therefore excluded from this year’s update.

In a notice posted on LinkedIn today (8 July), the Global Maritime Forum’s Decarbonisation Director Jesse Fahnestock said: ‘We can see the signs of change in the burst of innovation activity focused on zero-emission shipping over the last few years.’

Looking at how the ‘alternative fuels’ space is maturing, Fahnestock commented: ‘This year’s report acknowledges that methanol technologies – particularly vessels powered by methanol engines – are reaching commercial viability. As a result, pilot and demonstration projects focused on ammonia and hydrogen are increasingly the focus of innovation projects.’

However, Fahnestock added that: ‘While many projects have shown progress, others remain in the conceptual stage, facing hurdles related to competitiveness, safety, and supply chain development.’

Importantly, Fahnestock said the report saw ‘significant progress around bunkering infrastructure, reflecting the crucial role new bunkering capacity will play in linking the maritime value chain to the hydrogen economy’. But again, it was not all plain sailing, as he pointed out that: ‘Further upstream, the report sees less progress from innovative fuel production projects, many of which remain in the concept stage, facing lengthy timelines and obstacles such as environmental approvals, significant investment needs, and market demand issues’.

Echoing a call frequently heard in the industry, Fahnestock maintained that: ’Stronger market signals and increased financial and political support are essential to ensure that innovation in maritime fuel production continues at the necessary pace.’

Click here to download the 2024 edition of the Global Maritime Forum’s Zero-Emission Pilots and Demonstration Projects report.

Image: Global Maritime Forum

Ian Taylor

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