The port of Antwerp tries methanol navigation


Methanol is attracting growing interest in the shipping world because it is sulphur-free and has lower particulate and nitrogen oxide emissions. The port of Antwerp experiments with methanol navigation.

The aim is to reduce pollution from maritime traffic by finding an alternative to heavy fuel oil and other non-renewable fossil fuels.

The idea is gaining ground, as the CO2 emitted by the port of Antwerp can be counted in millions of tonnes. Antwerp, Rotterdam and Ghent alone account for a third of Benelux's CO2 emissions. However, the use of methanol in the marine industry is currently limited as its cost remains high.

An old tugboat in the port will be adapted to use this type of fuel. But if the equipment has to be adapted, the personnel must also be well trained because methanol is highly flammable and cannot be handled like conventional diesel.

Opinions on the use of this type of fuel are not unanimous, however, as although it will emit less nitrogen dioxide and far fewer fine particles, it will continue to emit CO2. The experiment underway in Antwerp should determine both the advantages and disadvantages of this alternative.