Caterpillar, Damen to collaborate on methanol-powered vessels

(HOUSTON) — Caterpillar and Damen Shipyards Group have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) aiming to develop methanol-powered vessels that enable the decarbonization of marine operations.

“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. This is an exciting technical challenge to tackle, but most importantly it fosters our industry’s goal to reach sustainable, low-carbon operations,” said Brad Johnson, vice president and general manager, Caterpillar Marine.

Derrick York, left, senior vice president of Caterpillar Oil & Gas and Marine Division; Arnout Damen, center, CEO of Damen Shipyards; and Kees-Jan Mes, managing director of Pon Power. Caterpillar photo

With the production of over 150 vessels annually, Damen Shipyards Group continues to offer customers onsite and remote services, expertise, and now an opportunity to support their climate-related goals. Under the MOU, Damen Shipyards will collaborate with a team of experts from Caterpillar and the Cat dealer, Pon Power, to learn how to adopt methanol as a fuel in marine applications, including aspects related to bunkering, storage, management and conversion to provide the power required by a vessel. Caterpillar would develop and provide the methanol power train to be integrated into a Damen-designed and built methanol-capable vessel.

“We’re delighted to be working with Caterpillar on this groundbreaking project,” said Joost Mathot, director of products at Damen’s Workboats division. “It is of mutual benefit to all the parties involved to begin operating the pilot engines as soon as possible, so that we can experience what it means to use methanol as a fuel in a maritime environment. We are very happy to be continuing our longstanding relationship and are very confident that together we will be able to offer our end customers the sustainable solutions they are asking for, in the near future.”

Caterpillar said it recognizes customers’ needs to operate reliable vessels that minimize current and long-term environmental impacts. “Our products power many vessels working around the world. We’re committed to helping our customers achieve their climate-related goals by developing expanded offerings across renewable fuels like biofuels and methanol, as well as solutions that drive efficiency in the use and conversion of energy such as integrated hybrid power trains. Our collaboration with Damen Shipyards Group and Pon Power will enable us to better understand the opportunities and challenges of decarbonizing maritime operations via green methanol,” said Johnson.

“For Damen, the introduction of methanol-fueled propulsion systems is the logical next step in our drive toward low-emission propulsion right across our product range and an integral part of our drive to become the world’s most sustainable shipbuilder,” said Mathot.

– Caterpillar

By Rich Miller