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Rolls-Royce Turns to Methanol as a Fuel for Commercial Yachts

The automotive industry is not the only one actively searching to limit the carbon footprint. As environmental regulations for ships are starting to change, so are the propulsion systems used. Rolls-Royce announced that it is already working on new mtu engines compatible with methanol that are set to be used in commercial yachts.
Rolls-Royce is focusing on methanol as fuel for sustainable yachts 6 photos
Rolls-Royce Sustainable Engines for YachtsMY Tatiana Yacht with mtu engineRolls-Royce aviation gearboxRolls-Royce aviation engineRolls-Royce aviation engine
The methanol initiative is part of the company’s “Net Zero at Power Systems” program, which focuses on developing and adopting climate-neutral solutions for all its applications.

According to Rolls-Royce, methanol can present various advantages in the company’s efforts to make transportation more sustainable. The fuel will be produced in plants by using the power-to-X process, which allows the conversion of green electricity into carbon-neutral gases or liquids like methanol.

Moreover, the characteristics of this fuel allow it to be stored and refueled at ambient temperatures. Methanol’s combustion in a pure methanol engine can be climate-neutral and emit considerably less toxic gases. It can be put in tanks and maneuvered easier in vessels since it requires fewer safety measures than hydrogen or ammonia tanks. Aside from these factors, it also represents a cost-efficient alternative.

Rolls-Royce says that the fuel can also be used with emission-free fuel cells, not only in combustion engines. Hydrogen can be synthesized from methanol using a reformer, which can then be utilized in fuel cells to produce electricity. This would allow vessels that don’t have enough room for hydrogen tanks to operate sustainably.

Currently, the company is working on new high-speed four-stroke engines that will be compatible with methanol. The engines are said to be based on mtu (a renowned product and solution Rolls-Royce brand) technologies. Once fully developed, they’re set to be available to customers “as soon as possible.”

Apart from the investment in methanol engines, the business is also focusing on new technologies that are expected to help cut CO2 emissions, which include new fuel cell systems and smart-ship solutions that allow semi- and fully autonomous operation.

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