Port launches the world's first methanol-powered tugboat

14 May 2024 / Antwerp-Bruges, Belgium

Today, Port of Antwerp-Bruges presented a world premier: the Methatug.

This tugboat, which runs on methanol, is part of a greening programme for the port's fleet and an important step in the transition to a climate-neutral port by 2050. The project is being financed by the European research programme Horizon 2020 and is part of the FASTWATER project, which aims to demonstrate the feasibility of methanol as a sustainable fuel for the shipping industry.

Methanol is one of the fuels of the future and produces lower emissions, an important factor in the Port of Antwerp-Bruges' ambition to be climate neutral by 2050. The world's first methanol-powered tugboat, the Methatug, was unveiled today in Antwerp. Methanol can be produced from renewable sources, is a clean fuel and can be used for both brand-new ships and retrofits because it is liquid under ambient conditions. For the Methatug, the engines from an existing tugboat were converted into ‘dual fuel’ engines, which means that they run on a mixture of methanol and traditional fuel. The 30-metre-long tugboat has a traction force of 50 tons and can store 12.000 litres of methanol, enough for two weeks of tug work…

…This world premier forms part of a comprehensive greening programme for Port of Antwerp-Bruges' own fleet which strives to systematically integrate the most environmentally friendly technologies available. So far, the Hydrotug 1, the first tugboat to run on hydrogen, and energy-efficient RSD tugboats have already been added to the fleet. Another electrically powered tugboat will follow later this year, as the first in Europe.

As the fifth largest bunker port in the world, Port of Antwerp-Bruges also aims to become a full-fledged multi-fuel port, in which seagoing and inland vessels will be able to bunker, not only conventional fuels, but also alternative, low-carbon fuels, such as methanol, hydrogen or electricity. In early April, the first methanol bunkering with the deepsea vessel Ane Maersk took place in Antwerp, a new milestone in terms of this ambition…

…Methatug specifications
- 11 meter width, 29.5 meter length
- Weight of 584 tons
- 50 ton bollard pull
- Storage of 12.000 litres of methanol
- two ABC 8DAC dual fuel medium-speed engines

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Source: Extract from Port of Antwerp-Bruges press release dated 14 May 2024

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