KR approves jointly developed methanol-fuelled MR tanker


Korean Register (KR) has granted an Approval in Principle (AIP) for a methanol-fuelled MR tanker, jointly developed by KR, South Korean shipbuilders K Shipbuilding and equipment manufacturer S&SYS at Nor-Shipping 2023 in Oslo, Norway on 6 June.

As part of the Joint Development Project (JDP) between the three companies, the MR tanker is designed as a dual-fuel vessel, harnessing the power of marine gas oil (MGO) and methanol. The vessel incorporates two methanol fuel tanks positioned on the port and starboard sides of the open deck.

K Shipbuilding spearheaded the vessel’s basic design and the methanol fuel tank design, while S&SYS undertook the development of the fuel supply system. KR ensured the safety and regulatory compliance of the design by thoroughly reviewing national and international regulations, leading to the issuance of the AIP for the methanol-fuelled MR tanker.

With an increasing focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the maritime industry, the adoption of decarbonized alternative fuels has become imperative. Initiatives like the EU’s ‘Fit for 55’ package, targeting a minimum 55% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, have underscored the urgency for shipping companies to explore viable solutions. Consequently, many major shipping companies have recently placed orders for methanol dual fuel vessels.

Methanol possesses significant advantages as a marine fuel. It is a liquid fuel similar to bunker fuel at room temperature, eliminating the need for pressurization. Compared to extreme temperature fuels like LNG at -162 degrees Celsius, hydrogen at -253 degrees Celsius, and ammonia at -34 degrees Celsius, methanol is easier to store and transport. Furthermore, it is considered a green fuel with strong potential for commercialization in the maritime sector due to its technical feasibility, less toxic nature compared to ammonia, and lower technical requirements compared to LNG fuel.

LEE Hyungchul, Chairman & CEO of KR said: “KR remains committed to advancing decarbonized alternative fuel technologies, with a particular focus on providing technical support for decarbonization efforts. The ‘Methanol Fueled MR Tanker’ joint development project stands as a testament to KR’s dedication to driving the industry’s transition towards greener solutions.”

JANG Yoonkeun, CEO of K Shipbuilding said: “We are delighted to see that our years of hard work to develop green-fuelled vessels has resulted in today’s AIP for the methanol-fuelled MR tanker. We will further improve our technologies and pursue innovations to contribute to maritime decarbonization.”

By granting AIP for the methanol-fuelled MR tanker, KR reinforces its position as a leading classification society in championing sustainable and innovative maritime technologies that pave the way for a more environmentally conscious future.