World - E-methanol: Missing piece to shipping’s decarbonization puzzle?

Emerging net-zero-emissions methanol producer Liquid Wind to build 500 e-methanol plants by 2050

Approximately 80% of the world’s traded goods move via ship. But the shipping industry is also responsible for 2%-3% of global carbon emissions, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics. While shipping is one of the most efficient modes of transportation, the industry’s reliance on fossil fuels has made the path to decarbonization difficult.

That has shone a spotlight on e-methanol as a potential solution.

E-methanol is produced by combining green hydrogen and captured carbon dioxide from industrial sources. It still releases some greenhouse gases as it burns, but it emits less carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxide and particulate matter than conventional marine fuel. Because the green hydrogen is produced using renewable energy and the carbon dioxide used is captured, e-methanol is considered an alternative net-carbon-neutral fuel.

Ammonia, battery power, biofuels, hydrogen, wind propulsion and liquefied natural gas are additional low- and zero-carbon marine fuels currently being researched and developed.

Ramping up e-methanol production and use in the shipping industry depends on the International Maritime Organization and cost and technology factors, Gregory Dolan, CEO at The Methanol Institute, told FreightWaves. There has been debate about whether the IMO will take a tank-to-wake or well-to-wake approach when approving sustainable marine fuels in the future.

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