25 July 2023

Witnessing a world first: Green methanol bunkering

Witnessing a world first: Green methanol bunkering

Barend, business development director, marine, tells us about the successful first bunkering of OCI HyFuels’ green methanol onto the world’s first green methanol powered container ship in the Port of Ulsan, Korea, its significance for the maritime industry, and what it was like to witness the ship setting off on its maiden voyage. 

Q: Barend, what is significant about this first green methanol bunkering operation?  

A: The shipping industry is responsible for 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions and urgently needs to decarbonize. With the current infrastructure and length of journeys, electrification isn’t an option so low carbon and renewable fuel alternatives will be crucial. Of those, green methanol is a fuel that we have available now, and the successful first bunkering of the first green methanol powered container ship, as well as its maiden voyage as a whole, are proof of that not only for the container segment, which is responsible for a significant share of bunker consumption, but also for the wider industry.  

Q: What about OCI had made us the right partner and pioneer for this maiden voyage?  

A: OCI HyFuels is the largest producer of green methanol today, and we have a unique capability to set up supply in various locations around the world, as required by our clients. We already have well established midstream and shipping networks, bunkering experience, and a track record of safely handling methanol in various locations globally. That makes us the ideal partner as we are able to operate on a truly global scale and leverage our expertise to ensure a smooth operation throughout.  

Q: Who have been our partners in the operation and why is collaboration important for success?  

A: Our key partners were Odfjell Terminal Korea, the Ulsan Ports Authority, The Ministry of Marine and Fisheries (MOF) and Maersk. Collaboration is always crucial, but especially when you’re doing something for the first time. In this case, each partner not only brought a specific set of knowledge, skills and experience to the table, but is taking a leading position in their own area of expertise to drive a cleaner future for shipping. It’s been a real example of what can be achieved when a group of pioneers come together with a shared ambition to drive change.  

Q: What have been the key takeaways so far?  

A: Attention to detail and thorough preparation are key. Given that this is the first time green methanol has been bunkered onto a container vessel, we needed to take it step-by-step and give ourselves the time to get it right. It’s been an iterative process with learnings at every stage which we’ll be able to apply to future bunkering operations and journeys.  

Q: Looking ahead, what are you most looking forward to about the ship’s journey? 

A: It’s safe to say that the top priority is having the vessel supplied safely and successfully across all locations on its journey, and I am looking forward to welcoming the Solstice vessel “home” to Copenhagen later this year. 

Q: Finally, what has been the most exciting moment so far?  

A: Without a doubt it was seeing the Solstice vessel berthing safely and successfully fueled with our OCI HyFuels green methanol. 

Speaking at the Port of Ulsan

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