Port of Antwerp-Bruges Unveils World’s First Methanol-Powered Tugboat

Port of Antwerp-Bruges has introduced the world’s inaugural methanol-powered tugboat, affectionately dubbed the Methatug. This innovative vessel signals a significant stride in the port’s ambitious mission to achieve climate neutrality by the year 2050.

Methanol, renowned for its clean energy attributes and capacity to be sourced from renewable origins, emerges as a promising alternative fuel within the maritime sphere. 

The Methatug project, a pivotal component of the European FASTWATER initiative supported by Horizon 2020 funding, aims to underscore the viability of methanol as a sustainable propulsion solution for the shipping industry.

With a commendable bollard pull of 50 tons, the Methatug stands poised to revolutionize maritime operations. Its substantial storage capacity of 12,000 liters of methanol equips the vessel for extensive periods of operation, ensuring seamless functionality for up to two weeks of uninterrupted service. 

Employing ‘dual fuel’ engines capable of harnessing both methanol and conventional fuel, the Methatug embodies versatility and efficiency in equal measure.

The Port of Antwerp-Bruges, ranked as the fifth largest bunker port globally, steadfastly positions itself as a frontrunner in embracing multifaceted energy solutions. 

As part of its strategic vision, the port aspires to evolve into a comprehensive ‘multi-fuel’ hub, accommodating diverse vessels with a spectrum of fueling needs. 

Beyond traditional fuels, the port champions the adoption of alternative, low-carbon alternatives such as methanol, hydrogen, and electricity.

Earlier this year, the port marked a significant milestone with the maiden methanol bunkering of the Ane Maersk, a green methanol-powered containership operated by industry titan Maersk. 

This landmark event underscored the port’s commitment to fostering a greener maritime landscape. Furthermore, December witnessed the inauguration of the world’s pioneering hydrogen-powered tug, the Hydrotug 1, in collaboration with the esteemed Belgian shipping entity CMB.TECH.

Jacques Vandermeiren, the esteemed CEO of Port of Antwerp-Bruges, articulated the significance of such pioneering endeavors, stating, “Together with our partners, we are pioneering with innovative technologies for the transition to alternative and renewable energy sources.” 

He emphasized the Methatug’s pivotal role in fortifying the port’s green fleet and advancing its overarching goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050. 

Vandermeiren expressed optimism that through trailblazing initiatives like the Methatug project, the port would emerge as a beacon of inspiration for its counterparts worldwide.

The introduction of the Methatug heralds a new era of sustainability in maritime transportation, underscoring the Port of Antwerp-Bruges’ unwavering commitment to environmental stewardship and technological innovation. 

As the global community continues to grapple with the imperatives of climate change, initiatives such as these serve as poignant reminders of the power of collaboration and ingenuity in charting a course toward a more sustainable future.

In essence, the Methatug epitomizes not only a vessel of remarkable capability but also a symbol of hope and progress in the collective endeavor to safeguard our planet’s precious ecosystems for generations to come.

 

This article was created using automation and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our staff editorial members

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