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Damen inks MoU to develop methanol dual-fuel tugs

Photo: Damen Shipyards Damen Shipyards, Caterpillar and Pon Power sign MoU[38].jpg
Damen has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Caterpillar Inc and Pon Power for the joint development of a series of dual-fuel methanol / diesel powered tugs.

The MoU was signed by Derrick York, for Caterpillar Inc, Kees-Jan Mess, Pon Power and Damen Group CEO Arnout Damen. 

"A big step in Damen's aim to become the world’s most sustainable shipbuilder. Our long-term strategy to achieve this includes offering a full range of sustainable tugboats featuring both zero-emission electric and carbon neutral methanol powered vessels," said Arnout Damen.

The methanol ready CAT 3500E series dual-fuel methanol pilot engines will be delivered to Damen by Pon Power in 2024 when the process of integration and testing will begin. Damen said it would be a complex undertaking involving integrating the engines with all aspects of the ship’s control, monitoring, ventilation, and other systems and would take place in close cooperation with the classification societies. The aim is to have methanol powered vessels to be series production-ready in 2026. 

The dual-fuel methanol tugs follow Damen’s recent delivery of its first, all-electric RSD-E Tug 2513, Sparky, to Ports of Auckland, New Zealand.

Electrically powered tugs are ideal for zero emission operations in harbours and terminals where low-cost electricity can be easily accessed between assignments via onshore infrastructure.

Learn more about methanol as a alternative fuel from a recent episode of the Seatrade Maritime Podcast

Damen’s strategy is to offer fully electric models offering bollard pulls of 40, 60 and 80 tonnes respectively and methanol-fuelled models with 60, 80 and 100 tonnes bollard pull.

“Our collaboration with Damen Shipyards Group and Pon Power brings together immeasurable expertise that allows us to learn together and innovate to address the great challenge of the energy transition,” added Brad Johnson, Vice President and General Manager Caterpillar Marine. “This is an exciting technical challenge to tackle, but most importantly, it fosters our industry’s goal to reach sustainable, low carbon operations.”