The methanol fuelled orderbook could hit 200 this year
Last week Win GD announced publicly that four methanol/fuel oil dual-fuelled COSCO containerships set to be built in China will have an engine design it is modifying to be able to use methanol fuel.
It comes a few days after its main competitor MAN ES announced its growing orderbook for methanol dual fuel two-stroke engines.
The WinGD announcement is noteworthy in three distinct ways. It shows how China is able to speed up its technical know-how, how relatively easy it could be to retrofit two speed engines to methanol, and thirdly how it is becoming the fuel of 2023.
Win GD is owned by the Chinese state-owned shipbuilding group CSSC and it is one of the CSSC engine makers in China, CSSC CMD, that will be co-designing and building the engines for installation at COSCO’s own shipbuilder, COSCO Heavy Industry.
This is a particular Chinese affair and will be seen as a way for China to ramp up its multi fuel ambitions and help position Win GD against its main competitor that already have orders for over 80 newbuilding’s to have its two stroke methanol engines onboard. When it comes to green methanol fuel production China has a number of ongoing projects.
Another notable fact is that the engine design for these vessels is not yet fully ready, so give WIN GD an opportunity to simultaneously roll-out a retrofit pack for the X92F engines these methanol capable engines will be based on.
The first three vessels in the COSCO order will be constructed with the existing WIN GD engine design, while the intention is to have the full engine design ready by the fourth vessel. The first three will then also have their X92-B engines retrofitted to become X92DF-M engines prior to entering service.
A week or two ago MAN ES also announced a large order for two stroke dual fuel methanol fuelled engines, an adaption of its G80ME engines, bringing the number of two stroke methanol powered engine sales to over 80, with MAN ES president Thomas Hansen telling Fathom World that it is also in discussions with owners where an additional 114 vessels could be ordered with methanol fuel.
While not all these orders may materialise, it is a telling indication of the confidence some shipowners are placing in methanol fuel as part of an energy transition.
Hansen said that methanol engine orders are outpacing LNG dual fuelled orders so far this year.
He also pointed to 20 vessels on the water already capable of using MAN dual fuel engines powered by methanol. If the speculative talks for a further 114 materialise it could bring the methanol-fuelled newbuild orderbook to over 200 vessels, all needing a supply of green methanol when they enter service otherwise they will immediately revert to marine gas oils or fuel oils.
This demonstrates the growing need for green methanol for shipping, something MAN also noted in one of its recent press releases, noting that it has had to be part of discussions between methanol producers and the shipyards to ensure methanol fuel is available to power the newbuilding’s especially when they are put through their sea trials prior to delivery.