Shipping firm claims first net-zero crossing of Atlantic — powered by methanol derived from hydrogen
Canadian maritime company Waterfront Shipping says it has carried out the world’s first net-zero transatlantic voyage, using methanol derived from hydrogen as its carbon-neutral fuel. The Cajun Sun dual-fuel vessel — leased from Japanese shipping giant Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) — left the town of Geismar, Louisiana, on 17 January and arrived in Antwerp, Belgium, on 4 February, the ship’s operator revealed today.
Waterfront — a subsidiary of the world’s largest methanol producer, Methanex — said the fuel for the journey consisted of a blend of carbon-negative bio-methanol derived from renewable natural gas and so-called grey methanol derived from unabated fossil gas.
Methanex said that this combination of methanols made sure that “net-zero greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis were achieved for the 18-day trans-Atlantic voyage”.
“The innovative fuel solution offers shipping companies the ability to achieve net-zero carbon emissions today, supporting the industry’s transition to a low-carbon future.”
To be classed as carbon-negative, the production process would have to remove more carbon from the atmosphere than remains in the methanol (CH3OH), which itself contains carbon that is released into this air when burned as a shipping fuel. And the amount of CO2 removed from the atmosphere would need to be higher than all the carbon dioxide released by the Cajun Sun’s journey.
Vancouver-based Methanex has not revealed how the fuel was manufactured at its Geismar plant, or how the carbon was removed in the production process.
“We’re proud to bring the marine industry a tangible solution to transition towards net-zero emissions through our blended methanol product using bio-methanol produced from renewable natural gas at our facility in Geismar, US,” said Mark Allard, Methanex’s senior vice-president, low-carbon solutions.
“As the world’s largest methanol producer, we are establishing a network of relationships with leading renewable natural gas suppliers and assessing other pathways, including carbon capture and storage and e-methanol, to provide solutions for the marine industry and other customers.”
Methanol derived from renewable hydrogen is widely regarded as a potential carbon-neutral shipping fuel, with firms such as Maersk investing heavily in the technology.