Industry’s first: Maersk ready to convert existing containership to methanol dual-fuel engine next year
By Ajsa Habibic
Denmark-based shipping giant A.P. Moller – Maersk (Maersk) is ready to make pioneering moves in the shipping industry with the retrofit of an existing container ship to a dual-fuel methanol-powered vessel scheduled for 2024.
The company revealed that the first engine retrofit in the industry is to be conducted in the middle of 2024, noting its intention to replicate on sister vessels when going for a special survey in 2027.
To this end, Maersk has contracted German MAN Energy Solutions (MAN ES) to retrofit the engine.
Replacing engine parts and thereby making the engine able to operate on methanol is a rather complex task, but only a part of the larger retrofit operation. For instance, new fuel tanks, fuel preparation room and fuel supply system are also a part of the retrofitting the vessel for green methanol, according to Maersk.
Ole Graa Jakobsen, Head of Fleet Technology who is responsible for the retrofit project at Maersk, explained that the detailed engineering for the first retrofit and discussions with potential yards are currently underway.
Leonardo Sonzio, Head of Fleet Management and Technology at Maersk, said: “In 2021, we ordered the world’s first methanol-enabled container vessel following a commitment to the principle of only ordering newbuilt vessels that can sail on green fuels.
“Concurrently, we have explored the potential of retrofitting existing vessels with dual-fuel methanol engines. Having teamed up with MAN ES, we are now ready to demonstrate how retrofitting vessels with methanol dual-fuel capabilities can be done.”
Under the agreement with MAN ES, a total of 11 vessels equipped with MAN B&W 8G95ME-C9.5 prime movers will be retrofitted to dual-fuel MAN B&W 8G95ME-LGIM10.5 types capable of operation on fuel-oil/methanol.
MAN PrimeServ, MAN Energy Solutions’ after-sales division, will provide a solutions package comprising engineering, parts, project management, onsite technical assistance at yard, sea-trial assistance and recertification service during the work.
Klaus Rasmussen, Head of Projects and PVU Sales, MAN PrimeServ, said: “Part of our strategy is to act as a solution partner for our customers and help them attain their decarbonisation goals. In that context, these will be the first-ever methanol retrofits performed on two-stroke engines and will enable emissions reduction when operating on green methanol. Retrofitting a MAN B&W engine to dual-fuel running is straightforward as our standard, electronically-controlled ME-C diesel engines are constructed as ‘dual-fuel ready’ and therefore readily retrofittable.”
In addition to aiming to achieve net zero in 2040, Maersk has also set near-term targets for 2030 to ensure alignment with the Paris Agreement and Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) methodology. This translates to a 50% reduction in emissions per transported container in the Maersk Ocean fleet compared to 2020, and furthermore, by 2030, 25% of its container volume will be transported using green fuels.
Image credit: Maersk