IAPH supports methanol bunkering at ports with safety checklists

IAPH Clean Marine Fuels Working Group publishes a series of bunkering checklists for alcohol-based fuels, including methanol

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IAPH Clean Marine Fuels Working Group publishes a series of bunkering checklists for alcohol-based fuels, including methanol

Methanol is emerging as a potential alternative bunkering fuel for shipping. When produced from sustainable hydrogen and CO2 by direct air capture, it is a carbon neutral fuel. Since 2015 methanol has been in use on a small scale but with a significant order book of dual fuel ships capable of using methanol the amount of ships using this alcohol-based marine fuel is expected to grow fast the coming decade.

The IAPH Clean Marine Fuels Working Group has just completed work on developing safety tools for Methanol and other alcohol-based fuels as a marine fuel with a total of seven safety bunkering checklists for both ship-to-ship and truck-to-ship transfer scenarios.

The Working Group is chaired by Peter Alkema of the Port of Amsterdam and whose Safety Workstream is coordinated by Cees Boon, Senior Safety Advisor of the Port of Rotterdam, which is made up of leading experts from member ports. Many of the experts have worked together for over a decade and began by developing IAPH Liquefied Gas bunker checklists for LNG. This expertise has been used to create checklists for other new alternative fuels, such as Liquefied Biogas (LBG) and Liquid Hydrogen (LH2), which were published on the IAPH World Ports Sustainability Portal last November.

Peter Alkema commented:

“Our Working Group has focused primarily on safety aspects related the bunkering of new fuels, as we are driven to advance the transition towards clean marine fuels for decarbonisation and air quality improvement. Our aim is to empower ports to facilitate, stimulate and regulate the supply of new clean marine fuels by providing expertise and guidance on safe and efficient bunker operations.”

This focus by the working group to create harmonised bunker checklists for known bunkering scenarios reflect the extra requirements of ports with regard to bunker operations of alternative marine fuels in or near their port environment. By using bunkering checklists, a high level of quality and responsibility of the bunker, site and vessel operators can be obtained.

All of the checklists that are developed by the working group are sent for industry consultation to classification societies, other NGO experts and bunker operators for feedback.

The IAPH Clean Marine Fuels Working Group also works on audit tools for port authorities evaluating both truck-to-ship and ship-to-ship bunkering operators and has a terminal readiness tool developed for LNG operations. The Group has also leant its expertise to the current WPCAP initiative to develop a comprehensive Port Readiness Level for Alternative Fuels for Ships (PRL-AFS) tool.

IAPH Managing Director Patrick Verhoeven concluded : “These tools are becoming an essential element of the emerging energy transition for shipping. Safe bunkering of fuels at ports is a pre-requisite and the fine work of this voluntary working group is keeping up with the industry demands for ship-shore safety as the new fuel mix evolves”

Note to editors

For a summary of the work of the Clean Marine Fuels Working Group, you can download a summary presentation here

The Port of Amsterdam, which is a member of the Clean Marine Fuels Working Group, has published an external safety study with DNV on bunkering of alternative marine fuel for seagoing vessels and on spatial considerations when looking at installing bunkering infrastructure at ports for fuels such as methanol. It has also recently added studies on ship-to-ship bunkering and on truck-to-ship bunkering of these fuels.

About IAPH

Founded in 1955, the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) has developed into a global alliance of 175 port authorities as well as 150 port-related businesses. Comprised of 88 different nationalities across the world’s continents, member ports handle approximately one third of the world’s sea-borne trade and well over 60% of the world container traffic. IAPH leads global port industry initiatives on decarbonization and energy transition, risk and resilience management, and accelerating digitalization in the maritime transport chain. Its World Ports Sustainability Program has grown into the reference database of best practices of ports applying the UN Sustainable Development Goals and integrating them into their businesses – www.iaphworldports.org.