E-methanol's cost could come down rapidly over time. Image Credit: LR
E-methanol bunkers produced from captured carbon could end up costing less than biomethanol once production of the alternative fuels mature, according to classification society Lloyd's Register.
The company has published a new report on the prospects for methanol as an alternative marine fuel this week.
While e-methanol from captured carbon and green hydrogen will start off significantly more expensive than biomethanol produced from biogas, this may change over time, according to the report.
Citing data from IRENA, the report puts an initial feedstock cost for biomethanol at $327-1,013/mt and e-methanol production costs at $1,120-2,380/mt.
But once production matures, these ranges could be $227-884/mt and $290-630/mt, respectively.
These figures need to be multiplied by about 2.4 to be seen in equivalent energy terms to conventional VLSFO, meaning they still remain considerably more expensive than the current price of traditional bunker fuel.
E-methanol's production costs may go down as renewable power becomes cheaper to produce, which will ease the costs of both the hydrogen and the captured carbon needed to make the fuel.
But biomethanol may become more expensive over time as demand for biofuels and other biomass-based products goes up, with more industries competing over a relatively scarce resource.
"With grey and brown methanol users likely to also seek blue and green alternatives in the future, the market pressures on cost and availability will remain uncertain until some of these new renewable methanol projects are online," LR said in the report.