A maritime consortium that includes the Dutch dredging and maritime firm Boskalis has secured a grant of $27.02m (€24m) to carry out research for promoting the usage of methanol in the shipping sector.

The research project, Methanol as an Energy Step Towards Zero-Emission Dutch Shipping, is being financially backed by the Dutch Government’s Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (Netherlands Enterprise Agency).

As part of the project, a clean energy technology will be developed for diverse applications within the maritime industry.

Inclusive of Boskalis’ contribution, the complete research budget totals nearly $42.78m (€38m).

The consortium also includes ship owners, yards, providers of specialist maritime equipment and knowledge institutions.

Together, they will retrofit six distinct ships for trialling the feasibility of methanol fuel systems.

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By GlobalData

Boskalis CEO Peter Berdowski said: “Alternative fuel types are the most significant driver for developing a more sustainable maritime industry and we continue to be at the forefront of initiatives exploring the emission-reduction potential presented by methanol and other clean technologies. This research programme looking into the use of methanol as a low-carbon fuel is another important step along the road to realising net-zero objective.”

‎Boskalis is also a participant in the Green Maritime Methanol Consortium, a joint industry project.

This consortium earlier evaluated the viability of methanol as a green fuel for the shipping sector.

In a statement, Boskalis said: “A 2020 study supported by TKI Maritiem and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy demonstrated that the use of methanol is not yet economically viable for retrofit in Boskalis’ vessels, however further research is currently being carried out with regard to its suitability for newbuild vessels.”

Last month, Boskalis and its partner KS Investments announced plans to sell their harbour towage dealings in Singapore and Malaysia to Italy’s Rimorchiatori Mediterranei.