Singapore is the latest company to join the ongoing effort to build a global infrastructure for the production and supply of methanol for marine fuel. Already known as the world’s largest bunkering center for the shipping industry, a partnership between shipping and the fuel industry plans to build Southeast Asia’s first green e-methanol plant in Singapore. The new initiative, already seen as a leading near-term contender as an alternative fuel to meet the IMO’s 2030 and 2025 targets for reducing carbon emissions, would be an important step in developing the necessary infrastructure.
AP Moller – Maersk, leading global production and supply chain development efforts, is collaborating with PTT Exploration and Production Public Company, Air Liquide, YTL PowerSeraya, Oiltanking Asia Pacific and Kenoil Marine Services to set up a green e-methanol to explore Plant that converts captured biogenic carbon dioxide into a ship’s fuel. The companies plan to complete a feasibility study by the end of 2022 and anticipate building a pilot plant in Singapore pending their conclusions.
Under the terms of the agreement, the companies will establish a Green Methanol Value Chain Collaboration that will explore the feasibility of building a green e-methanol pilot plant. They expect a minimum production capacity of 50,000 tons per year. According to the partners, their new agreement marks a crucial step in converting captured biogenic CO2 and green hydrogen from renewable electricity into green e-methanol, making this low-carbon fuel commercially accessible for the maritime industry.
“As one of the world’s leading maritime bunkering hubs, Singapore will serve as an ideal location to take this important step in exploring alternative future fuel solutions to drive the multi-fuel transition in the global shipping industry,” they said in announcing the project. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore welcomed the formation of this industrial partnership and its plan to leverage Singapore’s hub port and research ecosystems to conduct the feasibility study.
As the first major shipping company to order next-generation ships that run on methanol, Maersk has also been at the forefront of global supply chain and infrastructure development efforts. In addition to early investments in Europe and the United States, in March they announced efforts to launch the first global supply chain for methanol. Maersk has worked with six companies to lay the foundations that, when scaled through 2025, will provide far more than the green methanol needed to fuel the line’s first 12 methanol-capable dual-fuel container ships. As industry leaders, they also hope to encourage other shipowners to follow them, pointing to recent announcements by other companies ordering methanol-ready ships.
Experts point to methanol’s advanced stage of development and say it has the potential to make significant contributions to significant CO2 reductions in the short term. Methanol is positioned as the only market-ready and scalable solution ready for industry, with the expectation that ammonia, which is also seen as a strong competitor, could require at least two more years of development before it is ready for the commercial market.