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Methanol-fuelled towboats to enter market in 2023

The world’s first methanol-powered towboat will join the fleet of Louisiana-based Maritime Partners and be available for hire in 2023. The towboat, dubbed Hydrogen One, will be IMO 2030 compliant and fulfill all criteria of the US Coast Guard’s Subchapter M standards.

Elliott Bay Design of Seattle designed the ship, which incorporates technologies ranging from ABB’s electrical power distribution and automation to e1 Marine’s methanol-to-hydrogen fuel cell. It will be able to go up to 550 miles at standard operational speeds before it needs to refuel.

Methanol is a typical towboat cargo, and it is available in 88 of the world’s top 100 ports, allowing for refueling practically everywhere without the need for costly diversions, according to developers. The Hydrogen One uses e1 Marine’s reformer technology to generate hydrogen from methanol on-demand, which is said to be far safer than directly transferring and storing hydrogen, and the ship’s crew will require minimal additional training to operate the technology.

Austin Sperry, co-founder and chief operating officer at Maritime Partners, commented: “Shipowners have been understandably reluctant to commit to low carbon fuels until the infrastructure is available to refuel their vessels. The Hydrogen One solves that problem by using methanol, which is safe and readily available worldwide. When the Hydrogen One joins our fleet of 1,600 vessels, it will not only provide excellent emissions reduction capabilities but highly functional, reliable, and cost-effective operations.”

Adis Ajdin

Adis is an experienced news reporter with a backgroud in finance, media and education. He has written across the spectrum of offshore energy and ocean industries for many years and is a member of International Federation of Journalists. Previously he had written for Navingo media group titles including Offshore Energy, Subsea World News and Marine Energy.
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