IWAI, Cochin Shipyard tie up for waterways to go green

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(Image Courtesy: Deccan Chronicle)

Keeping pace with global trends, Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) will use methanol as a marine fuel retrofitting its work boats with engines that could run with the green fuel. IWAI has placed orders with the Cochin Shipyard for procuring six new vessels, that can run on methanol. Methanol significantly reduces emissions of nitrogen oxides ( NOx), Sulphur Oxides (SOx) and particulate matter and is complaint with emission norms for shipping industry worldwide post 2020. The shipping industry is fast transforming its fuel usage to methanol and at least seven ships of 50,000 dead weight tonne worldwide have already transformed to methanol based engines.

Various studies show that methanol is a widely traded chemical commodity as it is a feed stock of petrochemical industry. There is no problem in stocking methanol at the conventional marine bunkering centres worldwide, which ensures its availability round the year. Nearer home in India, IWAI has taken a strategy of creating bunkering facility on the National Waterways ( NW-1) at the first phase, which would fuel the boats that IWAI would launch for sailing. “As an experiment we have given our three workboats to Cochin Shipyard for redesigning and retrofitting the engines so that they can be sailed on waterways with methanol fuel,” IWAI’ vice chairman Pravir Pandey said.

Cochin Shipyard has a tie-up with Sweden-based company. It is a leading entity in the use of methanol for marine fuel, he said, although he didn’t want to mention the name of the company. Cochin Shipyard would retrofit the boats at its facility in Kolkata. The shipyard had recently formed a joint venture with the city-based Hooghly Dock & Port Engineers. “The retrofitting job would commence on January, 2019. The cost of redesigning engines of the boats would be between Rs 2-3 crore per boat.

Besides, IWAI has placed an order for six methanol based vessels, with the Cochin Shipyard with capacity ranging between 1,000 and 2,000 tonne. The boats have been designed by DST Germany, Pandey said. Methanol mix is cheaper compared to diesel and costs about Rs 26 per litre but requires larger volumes for consumption. Pandey said the boat would need refuelling on its way as the fuel storage tank cannot be made larger since it would reduce cargo handling space. But the designers are working on a bunkering strategy on NW-1, which can gradually be replicated on other National Waterways.

IWAI at present has 12 vessels and will procure additional 20-25 vessels of various types, Pandey said. The authority is also acquiring land at the multimodal terminals at Varanasi and Sahibganj for setting up freight villages to attract cargo and aggregate them, he added.

Meanwhile, Cochin Shipyard has already started work in its newly built third dry dock, 310 metres long and 75 metres wide in its widest part and 60 metres wide in its narrowest part with a depth of 13 metres and available draughty of 9.5 metres. It is the largest dry dock in India and can dock larger vessels and maritime equipment such as jack up rigs, which require wider space. The dry dock built at a cost of Rs 1,799 crore will contribute towards the target of increasing India’s share from 0.4% to 2% of the global shipbuilding industry.

It can emerge as a prominent ship repair centre at par with Colombo, Dubai, Singapore , Bahrain and others and will become a one stop maritime hub for repair needs of all vessels calling at Indian ports, a Cochin Shipyard statement said.

(Source: Financial Express)

Sea News, January 4

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