World’s first methanol-fueled tug boat slated for 2023

Maritime Partners, in cooperation with Elliott Bay Design Group, e1 Marine and ABB have announced plans for the world’s first methanol tugboat slated for launch in 2023.

Known as the Hydrogen One, the vessel will be IMO 2030 compliant and meet all requirements of the US Coast Guard Subchapter M regulations. The design comes from Elliott Bay Design Group using proven technology. ABB will provide electrical power distribution and automation for e1 Marine’s methanol-hydrogen fuel cell.

Decarbonizing the tug industry poses significant challenges, especially given the inherent limitations in the size, space and weight of tugs. Batteries are only suitable if you use fixed routes and can recharge daily, while the limited storage capacity restricts the use of pressurized or cryogenically stored gases as fuels. There are also very few dockside facilities for loading such marine fuels, which severely limits the scope and functionality of a vessel.

However, given that methanol is a common tugboat cargo and available in 88 of the top 100 ports around the world, this availability will allow the vessel to refuel safely almost anywhere without the need for diversions. The M / V Hydrogen One’s use of e1 Marine’s reforming technology will generate hydrogen from methanol on demand, which also makes it considerably safer than the direct transfer and storage of hydrogen. , and the ship’s crew will require minimal additional training to use the technology.

“Converting methanol to hydrogen reduces CO2 production and our reforming technology eliminates the complexities of direct refueling and storage of marine fuels,” said Robert Schluter, Managing Director of e1 Marine. “By producing hydrogen at the point of consumption from a mixture of methanol and water, the e1 Marine system enables the safe, efficient and economical use of hydrogen as a marine fuel. The technology is ideal for anything that requires continuous power over long periods of time, including work boats and mid-range passenger ships, or for providing back-up power in ports and harbors.

Hydrogen One should be able to run at standard operating speeds up to 550 miles before needing to refuel.

“The US tug market is one of the most traditional in the world, so it’s important to recognize what this represents: the first step in a shift from diesel electric to methanol electric, and a major step towards zero emissions.” , Dave Lee told ABB Marine & Ports. “Governed by ABB’s energy management and distribution technology, the system consumes methanol on demand. This philosophy is much more efficient than a traditional tugboat, where you need both main engines and an in-line generator at all times. With this design and our technology, we not only deliver huge operating and cost savings, but make the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation even more sustainable.

As planned, the Hydrogen One will join the Maritime Partners fleet and will be available for charter in 2023 to meet the pressing demand for sustainable tug operations.

Austin Sperry, Co-Founder and COO at Maritime Partners, said: “Shipowners have been understandably reluctant to commit to low-carbon fuels until the infrastructure is available to refuel their vessels. . The M / V Hydrogen One solves this problem by using methanol, which is safe and readily available worldwide. When the M / V Hydrogen One joins our fleet of 1,600 vessels, it will not only provide excellent emission reduction capabilities, but also highly functional, reliable and cost effective operations.

Mike Complita, director and vice president of strategic expansion at Elliott Bay Design Group, says the Hydrogen One will serve as a model for what will likely be the only practical, commercially available technology that will allow small vessels to operate for several days on a single charge of fuel and without the need for dedicated refueling facilities.

“Our naval architects optimized the balance between reformers, fuel cells and batteries to maximize range and power while minimizing operating costs,” Complita said. “This design and the technologies it uses can be easily adapted to any vessel with a similar need to operate on variable routes with transit times of several days, and further enhance Elliott Bay Design’s cutting-edge expertise. Group in this growing sector. “

Valerie J. Wallis