Yara Marine Technologies sold to Okapi Energy Yara Marine Technologies sold to Okapi Energy

According to the latest data from DNV’s Alternative Fuels Insight platform, orders for ships powered by methanol experienced a remarkable surge in 2023, totaling 138 and claiming the top spot in popularity. This marked a substantial increase compared to the previous year when only 35 vessels were ordered to run on methanol. Notably, container ships dominated this fuel choice, comprising 106 orders, followed by bulk carriers with 13, and car carriers with 10 orders.

Meanwhile, LNG, which had been a leading alternative fuel, faced a significant downturn in 2023, with only 130 vessels ordered, down from 222 in 2022. The containers segment emerged as the most active for LNG in 2023, with 48 orders, followed by car carriers with 40, and tankers with 30. It's worth noting that when considering newbuilds alone, LNG would take the lead, as a substantial proportion of methanol orders were for retrofits.

The past year also witnessed a notable development in alternative fuels, with the first 11 orders for ammonia-fueled vessels. However, hydrogen, despite being touted as a potential alternative, saw limited uptake, with just five orders compared to the previous year's 18.

In total, 298 ships with alternative fuel propulsion were ordered in 2023, reflecting an 8% increase year-on-year. As the shipping industry undergoes this transformative phase, the rise of methanol as the preferred choice indicates a dynamic shift in the pursuit of sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions.

“Investments in alternative-fuelled vessels have been heavily driven by the container and car carrier newbuild boom over the last three years. It remains to be seen if this trend continues into 2024,” said Martin Wold, principal consultant in DNV’s Maritime Advisory business.