Kolkata: In a bid to harness methanol as marine fuel, the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has planned to retrofit its work boats with green fuel and also placed orders with Cochin Shipyard for procuring six new vessels, based on methanol mix, an official said on Friday.
“On an experimental basis, we have given our three work boats to Cochin Shipyard for redesigning and retrofitting the engines, so that they can be sailed on waterways with methanol mixed fuel,” IWAI’s Vice Chairman Pravir Pandey said.
The shipyard has a tie-up with Sweden based company which is a leading entity in the use of methanol for marine fuel, he said, adding that the Cochin Shipyard would retrofit boats at its facility in Kolkata.
Incidentally, the shipyard had recently formed a joint venture with city-based Hooghly Dock & Port Engineers Ltd.
“The retrofitting job would commence in January, 2019. The cost of redesigning engines for our boats would be Rs 2-3 crore. Apart from this, we have placed an order of six vessels, based on methanol, to Cochin Shipyard. These vessels are ranging from 1,000-2,000 tonnes capacity and designed by Germany’s DST,” Pandey said.
Compared to diesel, methanol mixed fuel is cheap as it costs about Rs 26 per litre. Pandey said the methanol-based vessels would require refuelling on its way as the storage on vessels is limited and cannot be ramped up because it would reduce cargo handling space.
“For this, we are working on bunkering strategy for national waterways one (NW-I),” he said on the sidelines of Annual Shipping Conclave, organised by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Pandey said the IWAI has 10-12 vessels and will procure additional 20-25 vessels of various types.
The authority is also acquiring land at the multimodal terminals at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and Sahibganj in Jharkhand for setting up fright villages to attract cargo and also to aggregate them.