Cummins, Scottish Port of Aberdeen Collaborating on Decarbonizing Vessels

March 7, 2024
The UK-approved award will be utilized by Cummins, Ocean Infinity, the Aberdeen Harbour Board and Proman AG to deploy a methanol conversion kit for a high-horsepower marine internal combustion engine.

The United Kingdom government has selected Cummins Inc. and its partners to collaborate on decarbonizing a major UK port and reducing emissions in maritime vessels.

U.S.-based Cummins will jointly develop a methanol kit for its QSK60 engine as part of the Zero Emission Vessels and Infrastructure (ZEVI) competition funded by the UK government and Department of Transport. The award of 4.4 million Euros (US $4.7 million), one of the top 10 projects chosen by UK officials, will be utilized by Cummins, Ocean Infinity, the Aberdeen Harbour Board and Proman AG to deploy a methanol conversion kit for a high-horsepower marine internal combustion engine.

The companies expect to complete the project by the second quarter of 2025, aiming at an eventual 50-percent reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for offshore operations of the vessel.  The project is one of many worldwide aimed at major cargo ports, including efforts to electrify onshore fleets and install clean energy microgrids.

“This project, with its focus on the conversion of existing engine installations, offers a seamless transition between today and the future builds of new, cleaner technology ships,” Molly Puga, executive director for strategy, product planning & digital at Cummins, said in a statement. “It dismisses the need for a major vessel overhaul and creates an immediate positive impact on carbon emissions reduction in all environmental and operating conditions, ultimately helping the maritime sector meet our global climate needs.”

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Ocean Infinity will provide one of its 78-meter Armada service vessels for Cummins to design, develop and test the dual fuel HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil) and methanol technology. The vessels will be tested at the Port of Aberdeen.

Earlier this year, the Port of Aberdeen announced a 55 million Euro investment (US $58.8M) and goal to become the UK’s first net zero port by 2040. In addition to overhaul of offshore vessels, port officials are working toward new fleets of electric vehicles and installation of LED lighting.

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Aberdeen is Scotland’s largest port, taking in more than 6,000 arriving vessels and 3.2 million tons of cargo annually. The site, active for nearly 900 years now, was officially called Aberdeen Harbour until last year.

Many of the world’s largest and busiest ports are banding together on goals to decarbonize onshore and offshore operations. Some of these, including the Ports of Long Beach and Oakland in California, are embracing plans for low- or carbon-free microgrids incorporating solar, battery storage and hydrogen fuel cell technologies.

Cummins itself has developed numerous microgrid-level projects, including distributed energy systems for commercial and industrial customers as well as its microgrid test lab in the Cummins Power Integration Center in Fridley, Minnesota.

About the Author

Rod Walton, Managing Editor | Managing Editor

For Microgrid Knowledge editorial inquiries, please contact Managing Editor Rod Walton at [email protected].

I’ve spent the last 15 years covering the energy industry as a newspaper and trade journalist. I was an energy writer and business editor at the Tulsa World before moving to business-to-business media at PennWell Publishing, which later became Clarion Events, where I covered the electric power industry. I joined Endeavor Business Media in November 2021 to help launch EnergyTech, one of the company’s newest media brands. I joined Microgrid Knowledge in July 2023. 

I earned my Bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. My career stops include the Moore American, Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise, Wagoner Tribune and Tulsa World, all in Oklahoma . I have been married to Laura for the past 33-plus years and we have four children and one adorable granddaughter. We want the energy transition to make their lives better in the future. 

Microgrid Knowledge and EnergyTech are focused on the mission critical and large-scale energy users and their sustainability and resiliency goals. These include the commercial and industrial sectors, as well as the military, universities, data centers and microgrids. The C&I sectors together account for close to 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

Many large-scale energy users such as Fortune 500 companies, and mission-critical users such as military bases, universities, healthcare facilities, public safety and data centers, shifting their energy priorities to reach net-zero carbon goals within the coming decades. These include plans for renewable energy power purchase agreements, but also on-site resiliency projects such as microgrids, combined heat and power, rooftop solar, energy storage, digitalization and building efficiency upgrades.

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