Japan’s first methanol-fuelled ROROs in the making

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Japan’s first methanol-fuelled ROROs to be built by Mitsubishi Shipbuilding, featuring energy-saving technologies and capacity for around 2,300 vehicles.

The Japanese shipping companies Toyofuji Shipping and Fukuju Shipping have placed orders for Japan’s first methanol-fuelled RORO cargo ships.

The two ships will be built by Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., a part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group, at the Enoura Plant of MHI’s Shimonoseki Shipyard & Machinery Works in Yamaguchi Prefecture.

The ships will be approximately 169.9 meters in overall length and 30.2 meters in breadth, with 15,750 gross tonnage, and loading capacity for around 2,300 passenger vehicles.

They will be fitted with a windscreen at the bow and a vertical stem to reduce propulsion resistance. Mitsubishi will employ MHI’s energy-saving system technology to bolster fuel efficiency combining high-efficiency propellers and high-performance rudders with reduced resistance.

The vessels will run on dual-fuel engines that can use both methanol and heavy fuel oil. According to Mitsubishi, when running on methanol the ships will reduce CO2 emissions by more than 10% compared to ships with the same hull and powered by fuel oil.

By switching to green methanol, the ships will be able to further reduce their CO2 emissions, including throughout the lifecycle of the fuel. Green methanol is a type of carbon-neutral fuel, made from sustainable biomass or captured CO2 and hydrogen produced from renewable energy.

“Methanol-fuelled RORO ships have already entered into service as ocean-going vessels around the world, but this is the first construction of coastal vessels for service in Japan,” the shipbuilder said.

“In addition, the significant increase in vehicle loading capacity and transport capacity per voyage compared to conventional vessels will provide greater leeway in the ship allocation schedule, securing more holiday and rest time for the crew, thereby contributing to working style reforms.”

The vessels are scheduled for completion and delivery by the end of fiscal 2027.

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