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Project description

Harnessing methanol’s potential for a greener maritime sector

Maritime transport is a major CO2 emitter. Methanol can help cut the shipping industry’s emissions. Decarbonising methanol production is essential for the long-term sustainability and viability of methanol as a marine fuel. Currently, the use of blue methanol as marine fuel that is produced from natural gas is limited. Furthermore, the conditions or capabilities of a renewable methanol fuel, particularly with respect to water content and organic and sulfur impurities, remain unknown. In this context, the EU-funded UP-TO-ME project aims to evaluate the fuel’s suitability on a marine engine. To transform blue methanol into a sustainable marine fuel, it will also deliver ranges for fuel specifications and maximum limits for impurities.


It is a great challenge to upgrade decentralized CO2 point-sources to production sites for renewable fuels. These CO2 sources can be related for example to production of biogas in anaerobic digestion plants.

UP-TO-ME targets a ground-breaking change in decentralized Power-to-Methanol production for hard to electrify applications, like marine vessels. The potential of producing renewable methanol, only by utilizing the CO2 content of biogas in Europe is 128 Mt/a. UP-TO-ME concept is based on a hybrid process which combines the capture of CO2 with the synthesis to methanol in a fully autonomous, unmanned plant. The process comprises 3D-printed reactors and column packings designed using highly advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics. The fully automated, self-learning and self-optimizing control system allows production at fluctuating conditions by combining dynamical plant models and Artificial Intelligence. The aim of UP-TO-ME to provide self-optimizing control even for off-grid-operation is very challenging and, to our knowledge, has not yet been achieved anywhere for comparable plants. The ability of a remote plant to adapt itself to varying boundary conditions such as availability of renewable energies (e.g. from weather forecasts) or on the availability of CO2 from a fluctuating source, open unforeseen possibilities for distributed production.

Currently, so-called blue methanol originating from natural gas, is used in limited cases as a marine fuel. However, the quality requirements of a renewable marine methanol fuel, especially considering water content, organic and sulfur impurities originating from P2X production, are not known. UP-TO-ME will assess experimentally the suitability of the produced fuel on a marine type of engine and provide ranges for fuel specifications and max limits for impurities for this to become a sustainable marine fuel.



Net EU contribution
€ 852 506,00
Tekniikantie 21
02150 Espoo

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Manner-Suomi Helsinki-Uusimaa Helsinki-Uusimaa
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (4)

Partners (2)