Address challenges with methanol as a marine fuel using Nouryon’s amine and polymer solutions

Initiate the combustion process and decrease the ignition delay of alcohol fuels with our Beraid® 3555M ignition improver.

As the shipping industry advances its decarbonization agenda, methanol will continue to be a prime fuel alternative. Nouryon can help significantly improve the formulation of clean, renewable fuels for methanol-operated diesel engines through our lubricity and ignition additives.

Methanol provides many benefits, but it also delays ignition time and diminishes lubricity, hindering engine performance. Mitigate these challenges by incorporating specialty fuel additives that enhance combustion and lubrication.

Marine vessel operators and engine manufacturers continue to seek new technologies as they incorporate fuel alternatives such as alcohol. With each sustainable fuel option entering the market, new challenges arise. Engines need to be adapted, prototypes must undergo exhaustive testing, and new chemistries developed to ensure the combustion of new fuels is as efficient as possible.

Methanol is rapidly gaining industry interest as an alternative marine fuel because it offers a higher volumetric energy content than other alternative fuels and it is easy to handle and store as a liquid fuel under ambient conditions. Additionally, relatively low levels of emissions – sulfur oxide (SOx), nitrogen oxide (NOx), methane, and black carbon (BC) – are released during methanol combustion, and it has a smaller carbon footprint when produced from biomass or other renewable sources.

However, alcohol fuels are inherently difficult to ignite and are ‘dry’, tending to escalate wear through increased friction at the metal-on-metal contacts in engines. While traditional fuels are not as prone to these problems due to their higher sulfur content or the presence of FAME (fatty acid methyl esters), they do not offer the same emission reduction benefits as methanol.

Nouryon has been supporting the implementation of alcohol fuels for over 40 years. Initially targeting methanol as a fuel stock in the mid-1970s, we then progressed to ethanol fuels and developed an ignition improver and a lubricity additive to better optimize operations using both alcohol fuels. Since 1995, we have provided an ethanol ignition improver for a fleet of on-land buses and trucks.  

More recently, Vertoro, a bio-based materials start-up based in the Netherlands, has been experimenting with enhanced methanol, pursuing ways to ignite without the need for a diesel pilot fuel in collaboration with Wartsila. The successful ignition of a crude lignin oil in the absence of a diesel pilot was achieved with the addition of our Beraid® 355M ignition improver in a spray combustion chamber setup at CNR-STEMS.

Our Beraid® ignition improvers ensure proper combustion without forming any deposits in the engine. These additives are ash-free with good solubility, making them ideal for improving ignition with methanol.

Combining our proprietary ash-free polymer with our ethoxylated amines helps mitigate ignition issues and minimize wear problems. This allows marine engines to deliver outstanding performance with a dramatic reduction in emissions, eliminating the need for costly after-treatment devices.

According to Dr. Michael Boot, co-founder and co-CEO of Vertoro, this first proof of concept could open the door to methanol combustion in existing (two-stroke) marine diesel engines, offering a reliable and cost-effective way to decarbonize the shipping industry.

Our fuel additives are developed to enable fuel suppliers, engine designers, and manufacturers in their sustainability journey without compromising performance. We deliver the quality amine and polymer solutions you require to evolve with the market as the demand for more natural-derived components grows.

Let us help you design more sustainable formulations with our ash-free chemistry to exceed the performance and sustainability requirements, today and in the future.

Learn more about our high-performance lubricant additive brands here.

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