Damen shipyards, caterpillar inc and pon power sign mou for development of methanol powered tugs

On 28 November, Arnout Damen of Damen Shipyards, Derrick York of Caterpillar Inc and Kees-Jan Mes of Pon Power signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the joint development of a series of dual-fuel methanol / diesel powered tugs.


Methanol has been selected as an environmentally friendly alternative to diesel because of its important role in the energy transition within the shipping industry, no sulfur oxides or particulate matter are released during combustion and the use of green methanol significantly reduces CO2 emissions. By combining the knowledge and expertise of Damen Shipyards, Caterpillar Inc and Pon Power, the development of methanol-powered ships is gaining momentum. 


The goal of this collaboration is to jointly develop knowledge and learn how (green) methanol can be optimised as a fuel for ships, including bunkering, storage, handling and power density. A team of experts from Caterpillar Inc and Pon Power will support Damen during engineering, installation, commissioning and testing of Caterpillar's methanol powertrain in the purpose-built Damen vessels. 


The methanol ready CAT 3500E series dual-fuel pilot engines will be delivered to Damen by Pon Power in 2024 when the process of integration and testing will begin. This will be a complex undertaking, involving integration of the engines with all aspects of the ship’s control, monitoring, ventilation and other systems and will take place in close cooperation with classification societies. The aim is to have methanol powered vessels ready for series production in 2026.  


Jochem Neuteboom, Commercial Director of Pon Power said: "Caterpillar and Pon Power realize that customers need reliable vessels that have a minimal impact on the environment. Therefore, we are leading the way in developing and implementing environmentally friendly, future-proof propulsion solutions and are very excited about the cooperation with Damen Shipyards. Damen is a shipyard that builds 150 ships a year and  in addition to offering on-site and remote service & maintenance, is also committed to support its customers in the area of climate objectives." 


Joost Mathôt, Director of Products at Damen’s Workboats division, said, “We’re delighted to be working with Caterpillar on this ground-breaking project. It is of mutual benefit to all the parties involved to begin operating the pilot engines as soon as possible, so that we can experience what it means to use methanol as a fuel in a maritime environment. We are very happy to be continuing our longstanding partnerships and are very confident that together we will be able to offer our end customers the sustainable solutions they are asking for, in the near future.”   


“For Damen, the introduction of methanol-fueled propulsion systems is the logical next step in our drive towards low-emission propulsion right across our product range and an integral part of our drive to become the world’s most sustainable shipbuilder.”  


Brad Johnson, Vice President and General Manager, Caterpillar Marine said: “Our collaboration with Damen Shipyards and Pon Power brings together immeasurable expertise that allows us to learn together and innovate to address the great challenge of the energy transition. This is an exciting technical challenge to tackle, but most importantly, it fosters our industry’s goal to reach sustainable, low carbon operations.”   


About Pon Power 

Pon Power B.V. is an operating company of family-owned Pon and has been the official dealer of Cat engines, power systems and solar panels and Berg propulsion solutions for the Netherlands since 1926. Pon Power is a market leader for power solutions and through its extensive knowledge of each market, the company provides more than just an engine or generator. Such as tailored advice from dedicated consultants who know the customer's business, fast service through Caterpillar's global service network and an extensive service offer. Caterpillar is a global leader in heavy construction and mining equipment, diesel and gas engines, industrial turbines, generator sets and cogeneration equipment.





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