Methanol Needs New Fire Safety Regime, Study Finds

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Tuesday March 26, 2024

Existing firefighting methods used to extinguish machinery space spray and pool fires on conventionally fuelled vessels are inadequate when dealing with methanol-based fires, new research has found.

The study, by safety technology firm Survitec, follows extensive comparative fire tests on dual-fuel marine engines using diesel oil and methanol.

"Our tests confirm that traditional water mist fire suppression mechanisms do not perform as expected on methanol pool fires and methanol spray fires," Michał Sadzyński, who is product manager for water mist systems at the firm, said.

"A completely different approach is required if these ships are to remain safe," he added.

Methanol has a much lower flashpoint of 12°C (54°F) than hydrocarbon fuels. Established fire safety regulations and testing standards exist for diesel fuels but clear test protocols for alcohol-based fuels such as methanol and ethanol have yet to be developed, according to Survitec.

Recent presentations from two of the biggest bunkering ports highlighted the need for evolving safety regimes to render the bunkering of alternative fuels to commecial shipping safe.