What is Methanol?

Alternative Fuels / CO2-Reductions Nov. 06, 2023
What is Methanol?

Methanol is a liquid fuel that shares similarities with traditional fuels, making it relatively easy to handle.

It is the simplest form of alcohol and boasts a particularly favourable hydrogen-to-carbon ratio. However, it's important to note that its energy density is slightly less than half of that found in conventional marine fuels.

Methanol's characteristics make it an easy option within the realm of alternative marine fuels. Its simplicity and manageable properties position it as a noteworthy contender in the quest for cleaner and more sustainable fuel sources for the shipping industry. With the right infrastructure and technological advancements, methanol holds the potential to play a significant role in reducing the environmental impact of maritime transportation.

FAQ about Methanol

From which source is it accessible?

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Methanol is globally traded, but its availability in small quantities for bunkering remains somewhat limited. However, dedicated supply chains are gradually taking shape, particularly in Northwest Europe. Looking ahead, there is a promising prospect for methanol to be offered at production and terminal facilities around the world, potentially expanding its accessibility as a marine fuel.

What about safety?

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Methanol is characterized by its low flashpoint, which typically falls within the range of 11-12°C. It's essential to be aware that methanol can pose significant risks if ingested or if its vapors are inhaled, as it can be highly toxic. These safety considerations underscore the importance of proper handling and precautions when working with methanol.

How is the price comparison between Methanol and fuel oil?

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When considering methanol options, it's noteworthy that fossil-based methanol prices fall within a comparable range to MGO, although they do not necessarily correlate. On the other hand, green methanol, a more sustainable variant, is typically priced at a significant premium compared to conventional marine fuels, often reaching around 2-3 times the cost. These pricing dynamics highlight the economic aspects associated with different methanol sources in the maritime industry.

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