Shipyard Royal Niestern Sander awarded steel works for methanol conversion ‘Fugro Pioneer’
25 March 2024
Ship conversion

Shipyard Royal Niestern Sander awarded steel works for methanol conversion ‘Fugro Pioneer’

Royal Niestern Sander was awarded the steel work scope in the methanol conversion of the ‘Fugro Pioneer’. In December 2023, the multi-purpose survey vessel arrived at the shipyard’s dock location in the port of Delfzijl. In the upcoming weeks, the first steps will be made in the world’s first methanol conversion project.

The methanol conversion of the Fugro Pioneer is a result of the grant that was awarded in 2021 to the MENENS consortium by the Dutch Government’s Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (Netherlands Enterprise Agency) for the development of methanol as a low-carbon shipping fuel. The consortium of MENENS – a acronym  for ‘Methanol as Energy Step Towards Emission-free Dutch Shipping’ – exists of 22 partners representing the complete Dutch maritime sector, from equipment suppliers to designers and shipyards as Royal Niestern Sander to ship owners as Geo-data and survey specialist Fugro.


Fugro’s leading role in the consortium is to safely convert the engine of the Fugro Pioneer survey vessel to run emission-free on methanol by the beginning of 2023. Fugro will also contribute to the wider development of the engine technology and energy management, ship design, safety procedures and technology validation of this emission-free fuel.


Royal Niestern Sander will take care of all the steel works in this conversion project. This scope includes the creation of various internal spaces, including a fuel preparation room, auxiliary engine room, methanol storage tanks, cofferdams and a bunker station on deck with a vent stack. In addition, the layout of the existing engine room will be changed accordingly.

Reducing CO2 emissions

Achieving emission-free shipping is not a straight-forward matter as most vessels still run on fossil fuels. Although there are several routes to achieve CO2 emission reductions in the maritime sector, there are only a few possible alternatives to marine diesel that can be deployed in the short to medium term. For large-scale introduction methanol is considered to be one of the most viable options.


Royal Niestern Sander is widely known and respected for their innovative and sustainable ship designs, conversions and projects. Fokke Jan Botke, Managing Director Niestern Sander: “In recent years, we have seen more and more ship owners invest in sustainable applications for their ships. Niestern Sander Repair has always been there providing essential support for such initiatives and for proactive innovators such as Fugro and the methanol conversion or their Fugro Pioneer. Such projects effectively reduce harmful emissions while considerably extending the lifespan of such a ship in this era where strict requirements for sustainability are becoming increasingly necessary. We are proud that a pioneer like Fugro is taking on such a project together with our yard.”

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