Study: Bio-methanol most cost-effective option for low draught ferries in terms of GHG

April 15 2021

Conoship International has a long track record with ferries, especially for the Dutch and German Wadden Sea. Combine this experience and the need for sustainable ‘green’ transport solutions and the research for a carbon-neutral ferry is born. The outcome? It’s possible now! A ferry poses many challenges in regards to passenger safety regulations. Zero-emission, or carbon-neutral, also poses several challenges regarding safety. The study is therefore based on an existing, and thus technically feasible vessel: the Adler Rüm Hart[1] ferry.

Fuel Considerations

The most suitable ánd future-proof fuel now is bio-methanol. Its properties make it suitable for a ferry with a fixed route (bunkering) and, compared to Hydrogen, it is readily available and usable. With bio-methanol, emissions are largely reduced and, unlike LNG, it can reach CO2 neutrality when it’s from a biomass source or synthetically produced with renewable energy.


The overall conclusion of the case study is that it could be possible to sail on bio-methanol, since it will not have a significant effect on the general design of a ship. However, some systems need to be changed to achieve the functional requirements of the rules. The keyword being ventilation.

Supported by Class

The development of a ferry on bio-methanol is new, and so is the regulatory process. In this case, Lloyds Register is working with Conoship towards a Class assessment for the design of this methanol powered ferry.

About the case study vessel

The Adler Rüm Hart is a lightweight aluminum and very compact catamaran passenger ferry with room for 250 passengers, sailing up to 18 knots at 750 kW on the shallow waters of the Wadden Sea. The vessel is designed according to the strictest environmental standards, minimizing ecological impact. For example, non-biocide coating is applied and the design complies to Blauer Engel „Umweltfreundliches Schiffsdesign“ and „Umweltschonender Schiffsbetrieb“. The innovative hull of the catamaran was designed and optimized to reduce ship resistance, keeping fuel consumption to a minimum. > link to portfolio on website