Japan’s First Methanol-Fueled Domestic Tanker To Be Developed Under Alliance Of 6 Companies

MOL Coastal Shipping, Ltd., Tabuchi Kaiun Co., Ltd., Niihama Kaiun Co., Ltd., Murakami Hide Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., and The Hanshin Diesel Works, Ltd. have agreed to form a strategic alliance aimed at reducing environmental impact through the development of methanol-fueled Domestic tanker.

The vessel development project, which targets delivery of the ship in 2024, was also selected to receive public funding through the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), “Subsidy for ‘Project on Transport Efficiency improvement Utilizing using AI/IoT (Demonstration Project on Domestic Ship Innovative Operation Efficiency)” (Note 1).

Methanol can reduce emissions of sulfur oxide (SOx) by up to 99%, particulate matter (PM) by up to 95%, nitrogen oxide (NOx) by up to 80%, and carbon dioxide (CO2) by up to 15%, compared to vessels using conventional fuel oil, which is currently the main fuel for marine vessels. Methanol has outstanding properties for use as a fuel, as it is liquid at normal temperatures and normal air pressure.

company corporate profile
Image Credits: mol.co.jp

Methanol fuel has been more widely introduced on ocean-going vessels as an environmentally friendly fuel, including four MOL Group-operated ships, but this will be the first methanol-fueled Domestic ship.

In addition, methanol can be produced with CO2 and hydrogen as raw material, so in the future, it can be produced by utilizing the CO2 capture and transport business to synthesize hydrogen, which uses electricity derived from renewable resources such as offshore wind power and wave power. If this methanol can be used as fuel, it can establish an environmental circulation type business model, enabling a reduction in net CO2 emissions.

The six alliance partners will each orchestrate their advantages in technology, expertise, and networks (Note 2) aiming to realize a decarbonized society.

(Note 1)

The funding subsidizes the costs required to conduct the demonstration project with the aim of optimizing overall transport by introducing measures on software aspects such as ship operation planning and optimization of cargo handling operations, as well as hardware-based steps such as energy-saving ship designs, high-efficiency propulsion systems, and systems and equipment to enhance cargo-handling operations.

(Note 2)

Alliance Partners and Their Roles in the Project

1) Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. 

Established  May 1884
Address of head office  2-1-1 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo 
Representative  Takeshi Hashimoto
Business  Ocean shipping services, etc.

2) MOL Coastal Shipping, Ltd. 

Established  December 22, 1953 
Address of head office  2-1-1 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo 
Representative  Hiroshi Kobayashi
Business  Marine transport services

3) Tabuchi Kaiun Co., Ltd. 

Established  October 1935
Address of head office  2-2-5 Ajigawa, Nishi-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
Representative  Norio Tabuchi
Business  Ocean shipping services, etc.

4) Niihama Kaiun Co., Ltd. 

Established  August 1948
Address of head office  1-4-18 Nishibaracho, Niihama-shi, Ehime  Prefecture 
Representative  Shuichi Moriga
Business  Marine transport services

5) Murakami Hide Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. 

Established  November 1963
Address of head office  4641-2 Hakatacho Kinoura, Imabari-shi, Ehime  Prefecture
Representative  Eiji Murakami
Business  Shipbuilding, repair services, etc.

6) The Hanshin Diesel Works, Ltd.

Established  January 1918
Address of head office  4F Shinko Building, 8 Kaigandori, Chuo-ku, Kobe,  Hyogo Prefecture
Representative  Kazuhiko Kinoshita
Business  Production of ship engines, etc.

Reference: MOL

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