Chartwell Marine Wins UK Funding For Methanol-Fuelled Catamaran Design

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Tuesday January 17, 2023

Naval architects Chartwell Marine have been awarded a UK government grant to develop a methanol-fuelled catamaran design.

The company has been awarded a £320,000 Innovate UK Smart Grant, it said in an emailed statement on Tuesday. The grant will be used to develop and test the feasibility of the methanol-fuelled vessel design.

The catamaran design will have applications in the offshore wind, commercial workboat and leisure sectors, the company said.

"We're grateful to Innovate UK for the opportunity to delve deeper into the feasibility of methanol-based propulsion," Andy Page, director of Chartwell Marine, said in the statement.

"As a company, we've delivered over 30% of hybrid vessels in the UK offshore wind market, all complete with the latest state of the art electric-diesel hybrid technology.

"That gives us a great starting point to take methanol forward in a meaningful way and cut through some of the challenges we've seen in the development of alternative fuels, which may be a long time from full viability.

"There are still hurdles to overcome with methanol, of course: a lack of refuelling infrastructure onshore, weight issues, and fully efficient conversion to energy, to name some.

"But with the right investment and build partners, we can use our expertise in offshore wind vessel design to target these challenges and create a proof-of-concept methanol vessel that will be cost-effective, well-engineered and hydrodynamically optimised for deployment worldwide."

Methanol is rapidly growing in popularity as an alternative marine fuel choice, with several large orders now in place from the container segment and some interest from dry bulk. The main challenge for methanol bunkering over the next few years will be the scaling-up of green methanol supply to meet the new demand, as well as the development of delivery infrastructure at key ports around the world.