A tugboat, called Methatug, will become the first methanol-power vessel to operate at a European port.
Methatug is part of the European Union-funded Fastwater Project, which was set up by a group of European maritime research and technology leaders, including Port of Antwerp. This consortium aims to demonstrate the feasibility of renewable methanol as a future-proof fuel for carbon-neutral shipping.
Besides Port of Antwerp, which is supplying the tugboat, a range of other European partners are involved in this project. The Belgian engineering company, Multi, carried out the feasibility study for the project. Swedish shipbuilder, ScandiNAOS, designed the vessel’s modifications, ABC (Anglo Belgian Corporation) is responsible for converting the engine and for installing the methanol tanks and pipes, while the German company, Heinzmann, is adapting the injectors.
Obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals for this methanol-powered vessel took 18 months. The Methatug is now expected to be operational during early 2022.
By 2025, Antwerp aims to become a fully-fledged multi-fuel port, in which seagoing and inland vessels will be able to bunker, not only conventional fuels and LNG, but also low-carbon alternatives such as methanol, hydrogen or electricity.
Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of Port of Antwerp, said: “Together with our partners, we are constantly looking for innovative applications and opportunities for the transition to alternative and renewable energy sources. This Methatug is an important step in the transition towards Antwerp becoming a sustainable and CO2-neutral port.”