aerial view of a tanker ship refueling

Report | 2024

Oceans of Opportunity

Supplying Green Methanol and Ammonia at Ports

By Cato Koole (Analytical lead, RMI), Abigail Martin (Analytical support, RMI), Joe Boyland (Report writing and engagement support, Global Maritime Forum), Bianca Garvin (Research and engagement support, Global Maritime Forum), Aparajit Pandey (RMI), Jesse Fahnestock (Global Maritime Forum)
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The maritime sector plays a pivotal role in enabling global trade and accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy. Responsible for 3 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, ocean transport needs to transition to low-and zero-emissions fuels. As the maritime industry decarbonizes, significant shifts in fuel procurement and distribution are anticipated. Gaining insights into the availability and sourcing of green methanol and ammonia for the shipping sector will be crucial to meeting the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) target of achieving at least 5% utilization of zero-emission fuels by 2030.

This report, by the Global Maritime Forum and RMI, under Mission Innovation’s umbrella, outlines strategies for ports to become first movers in providing green methanol and ammonia bunkering. The report highlights key findings on the cost-effectiveness of transporting green methanol and ammonia, both derived from green hydrogen, which is expected to foster extensive trade networks between production centers and major ports. Moreover, it underscores the pivotal role of policy in shaping a country or region’s position within the evolving hydrogen economy.

Analyzing green ammonia and methanol production, the report shows potential supply patterns, with methanol likely concentrated in major bunkering hubs and European ports, and green ammonia facilitated by long-distance transport from low-cost production sites across regions like the United States, South America, Australia, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

As ports strategize to meet the IMO’s emission targets, the study identifies four archetypes of ports, each with specific opportunities, challenges, and requisite actions for developing green methanol or ammonia bunkering facilities. Drawing insights from ports like Singapore, Algeciras, Corpus Christi, Seattle & Tacoma, and Rotterdam, the report offers tailored recommendations to guide ports in pioneering the decarbonization efforts of the maritime industry.