Energy-saving methanol supply for green shipping

Aerial shot of cargo ship travelling through the blue sea like an arrow, right to left, leaving waves in its wake.

It is still early days for sustainable shipping, but the design of a new fuel system for green methanol shows how supply chain innovation is helping shrink the carbon footprint of the commercial maritime sector.

Danish company Eltronic FuelTech is now the first in the industry to offer equipment for supplying fuel from tanks to engines on methanol-powered ships.

This can save shipping companies both money and energy, while at the same time enhancing safety.

The inspiration behind this innovation to support more sustainable shipping was the pioneering launch and naming of Laura Mærsk, A P Moller-Maersk’s first container ship that can sail on green methanol.

In the wake of this maritime breakthrough, engineering specialists at Eltronic FuelTech then launched the company’s new Low-flashpoint Fuel Supply System (LFSS), designed for this particular vessel.

LFSS efficiencies help optimise greener fuel usage, says Louise Andreasen, CEO at Eltronic FuelTech:

“Embracing green methanol as a fuel has been increasing markedly in recent years, and with the new LFSS system, we can make a significant contribution to the green transition of the shipping industry.

In the past, several suppliers were required to put together a complete fuel supply system all the way from the fuel tank to the engine, but the fact that we can now supply the entire system brings multiple benefits.”

There are also savings associated with the logistics, as one and the same container can be used for spare parts for the entire system, plus fewer repair technicians will be required for maintenance.

Adjustable design could cut energy use by 40%

Visual for Low-flashpoint Fuel Supply system (LFSS) showing single pump highlighted in blue, plus assorted pipework and tanks in grey.

While most other supply systems on the market use two pumps to move the methanol around, Eltronic FuelTech has managed to create an LFSS with only one pump, thereby saving considerable energy.

In addition, it is now possible to adjust the pump depending on the engine load, so that only the right amount of methanol is supplied to the engine, something which has not been possible until now.

LFSS adjustability could generate significant savings, especially for large vessels, adds Andreasen:

“If a ship is sailing slowly, the pump automatically adjusts to the load, so that it only runs at 60% of full power. With the biggest engines on container ships, the pumps usually use more than 100,000kWh a year pumping the methanol from the fuel tanks to the engine. With our new supply system, we expect to be able to cut consumption by up to 40%.”

As well as developing systems for a ship’s main engines, Eltronic FuelTech has also developed a compact combined system to supply the ship’s auxiliary engines with fuel from the tanks.

More sustainable future for maritime sector

YouTube video
Low-flashpoint Fuel Supply System (LFSS) and Fuel Valve Train (FVT) for methanol-powered vessels

Eltronic FuelTech A/S is a global engineering company which develops and produces systems that make it possible for ships to sail on greener alternative fuels.

Based in Hedensted in Jutland, the company, employs more than 100 engineers and technicians, with specialist, industry know-how. Its customer portfolio includes engine manufacturers, shipping lines and shipyards worldwide who want a more sustainable future within the maritime sector.

In 2018, Eltronic FuelTech A/S became an independent company within the Eltronic Group.

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