Methanol Overtakes LNG As the Alternative Fuel of Choice
With stringent emissions targets rapidly approaching, shipping companies are considering a plethora of alternative fuels. Now, research from classification society DNV has revealed that methanol has overtaken LNG as the alternative fuel of choice.
Data from DNV’s Alternative Fuel Insights (AFI) platform has revealed a total of 298 ships with alternative fuel propulsion were ordered in 2023, an 8% year-on-year increase. This brings the total number of alternative fuel ships in the global fleet to 1,281.
What’s perhaps most revealing in the data is the rapid acceleration in methanol’s adoption. 2023 saw 138 orders for methanol-fuelled ships (excluding methanol carriers), putting the fuel neck and neck with LNG, which saw 130 orders. The number of orders for methanol-powered ships represents a significant increase on the 35 ordered in 2022.
Of these new methanol vessels, the majority were containerships (106), followed by bulk carriers (13).
This comes, as we’ve previously written, despite a lack of global methanol bunkering infrastructure.
Commenting on the data, DNV’s CEO Maritime, Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, said:
“As we navigate towards a greener maritime future, the growing demand for alternative-fuelled vessels speaks volumes. These orders send pivotal signals to fuel providers and other important partners on shipping’s decarbonisation journey. While it is clear that the maritime fuel technology transition is already underway, we now need to ensure the fuels powering these engines become available.
It is however crucial to emphasise that focusing solely on fuels may divert our focus from achieving a significant impact in this decade. What is required are concrete measures that actively lower emissions. Energy efficiency initiatives can yield decarbonisation outcomes both now and leading up to 2030”.
2023 also saw the first orders for vessels due to run on ammonia (a total of 11 ordered). The year also saw a total of five orders for hydrogen-powered vessels.
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