Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with OCI N.V. (OCI) and MAN Energy Solutions (MAN) to develop methanol and ammonia as marine fuels to aide in industry-wide decarbonisation and environmental preservation efforts.
The partnership involves using select conventional vessels from EPS’ existing tanker fleet that use MAN engines to be retrofitted, allowing them to be powered by methanol and ammonia which will be supplied by OCI. Also, EPS will construct newbuild vessels with MAN engines powered by the same two alternative marine fuels. OCI intends to charter the first retrofitted vessel from EPS.
The announcement is in line with EPS’ agnostic approach to its alternative marine fuel programme.
EPS CEO Cyril Ducau said, “EPS is proud to partner with industry-leaders OCI and MAN with a shared vision to push our industry towards decarbonisation and environmental preservation. As a leading tonnage provider, EPS has taken a firm stance that sustainability begins with accountability. This means we have a responsibility to implement emission lowering solutions available today while simultaneously developing solutions for tomorrow. Converting our existing conventional fleet to burn methanol creates a unique opportunity to continue lowering our carbon footprint significantly and rapidly. In the meantime, developing ammonia-fuelled conversion and newbuilding projects will help develop more mature zero-carbon solutions in the longer-term. We are excited about the next steps and to share our findings with the industry.”
The partnership is an example of different industry players with aligned values coming together to lower greenhouse gas emissions. The MOU is also an example of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, as the technology to retrofit vessels to run on methanol exists today while using methanol and ammonia on newbuilds is still a few years away.
Ahmed El-Hoshy, Chief Executive Officer of OCI NV, commented: “Methanol and ammonia are the fuels of the future and we are excited to continue to play a part in the transition to zero carbon through this partnership. The use of ammonia or methanol as a shipping fuel is particularly promising as these products are among the best-placed alternatives to help this sector decarbonize in a cost-effective way. We are confident that, in addition to the exciting developments on new-builds, existing vessels can economically convert their engines to use our low-carbon products and help the industry meet its goals. We see this as starting with the adoption of grey/blue methanol and ammonia and then shifting to green as production costs come down, customer appetites move towards green and regulations continue to develop. Our products are perfectly positioned to fuel the transition and we believe the push towards low carbon fuels in the coming years will be met with the adoption of both methanol and ammonia as industry-standard fuels on a grey, blue and green basis. We are therefore pleased that we have signed this agreement with a leading tonnage provider in the shipping industry and the leading engine manufacturer, bringing together a comprehensive representation of the maritime value chain.”
Brian Ostergaard Sorensen, Vice President and Head of R&D, Two-Stroke Business at MAN Energy Solutions, said: “We view these initiatives as closely aligned with our own strategy of cooperating with external partners to develop sustainable technologies. Methanol and ammonia are very interesting candidates as zero-carbon fuels. In fact, we have already introduced a methanol-burning two-stroke engine, while we expect to deliver the first ammonia-fueled engine in 2024. MAN Energy Solutions is fully committed to the maritime energy transition and the development of technology that exploits alternative, clean fuels.”
Jens Seeberg, Head of Retrofit & Upgrade at MAN PrimeServ Denmark, said: “For us, the path to decarbonizing the maritime industry starts with fuel decarbonization. Happily, the flexibility of the ME-C engine enables us to retrofit the existing fleet into methanol-fueled vessels that have a significantly reduced environmental impact. We look forward to moving with our industry partners towards these sustainable goals.”
The technology to retrofit a vessel to accept methanol as a fuel is available today and the intention is for OCI to charter the first retrofitted methanol fueled vessel operated by EPS using already in-service MAN engines and technology in the next two years.