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Berge Bulk & ABS to study retrofit of bulk carrier for methanol-fueled propulsion

Singapore—based Berge Bulk, one of the world’s leading independent dry bulk shipping companies, and ABS signed a joint project agreement to conduct a detailed feasibility study for the conversion of methanol-fueled propulsion system and aim to kickstart in Q1 2024.

The two companies will collaborate on a broad range of subjects from availability of methanol fuel and practicalities of bunkering to review of the technical and economic feasibility of the conversion.

One of the key benefits of methanol as a marine fuel is its low emissions profile. Compared to traditional marine fuels, methanol emits significantly lower levels of sulfur oxide (SOx), nitrogen oxide (NOx), and particulate matter. It also offers a path to significantly lower carbon emission compared to traditional fossil fuel through the use of e- or green methanol.

Berge Bulk is committed to our target of achieving net zero carbon by 2025. We see methanol as one of the solutions towards these ongoing decarbonisation efforts. Existing technologies are available to convert methanol for use in our engines, whilst there are also procedures for bunkering of methanol and its use onboard.

&mdashJames Marshall, CEO of Berge Bulk

Retrofitting alternative fuel capability to the global fleet is going to be critical if we are to achieve our sustainability goals. This JDP is blazing a trail that many other vessels will ultimately have to travel as operators look to manage their decarbonization trajectories over a vessel’s lifespan. Methanol is increasingly being recognized as a compelling alternative pathway for owners and operators. With practical benefits related to ease of storage and handling, tank-to-wake carbon intensity reduction, as well as a pathway to carbon neutrality through green methanol, methanol presents an immediate and promising solution.

—Christopher J. Wiernicki, ABS Chairman, President and CEO

Wind power. Berge Bulk is also investigating two wind-power options for its carriers: Flettner Rotors, which operate on the principle of the Magnus effect (earlier post) and WindWings, which operate based on Bernoulli’s principle.

  • Flettner Rotors operate on the principle of the Magnus Effect, which is how professional sports players throw balls with a curved trajectory. Four 5m diameter by 35m high columns are mounted vertically on the deck and spin at a high rotational speed. When the wind blows and interacts with this spinning columns, it generates a pressure differential that can be oriented to propel the ship forward. The result is a reduction in mechanical power demand on the main engine, along with a corresponding reduction in main engine fuel consumption. Berge Bulk will install Anemoi Rotor Sails on vessels in its fleet.

  • WindWings operate based on Bernoulli’s principle—the same effect that allows commercial aircraft to fly. As wind blows across the vessel deck, the wings will automatically position themselves to generate lift in the direction of vessel movement. The result is a reduction in mechanical power demand on the main engine, and a corresponding reduction in main engine fuel consumption. Berge Bulk WindWings are built by BAR Technologies, which designed the ultra-high performance sail systems used by TeamUK in America’s Cup championship yacht racing.



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