Auramarine – Driving the Marine Transition

Auramarine, the supplier of modular fuel supply and auxiliary systems for the marine, power and process industries, is helping to decarbonise the marine sector.

Auramarine boasts a proud heritage going back to the company’s foundation in Finland in the early 1970s. Since then, Auramarine has delivered more than 15,000 robust and reliable fuel supply and auxiliary systems to its customers worldwide, aiming for superior service and customer value. Today, Auramarine has its headquarters and operates an R&D centre in Finland, as well as a production facility and services centre in China.

CEO John Bergman explains that the company’s focus is now on developing more environmentally friendly, sustainable solutions for the marine industry within that sector’s move towards greener fuels.

“Auramarine is ready to provide solutions to support its customers in the transition to energy-efficient, carbon-neutral fuels – such as methanol – with safe and reliable fuel supply solutions, both for new builds as well as retrofits.”

Promising Fuel of the Future

The latest outcome of Auramarine’s R&D efforts was introduced in May this year – the development of one of the industry’s first Methanol Fuel Supply Units to meet the demand for methanol as a promising future fuel.

The units are suitable for both two-stroke and four-stroke engines and can be adapted to suit the conversion of existing engines to dual-fuel methanol operation. They can be applied as both a retrofit and for newbuilds.

The units ensure the safe delivery of methanol from the service tank to the master fuel valve, regulating the flow, pressure and temperature of the methanol to meet the specific requirements of the engine. The system actively maintains the supply pressure within the specified tolerances during load changes and filters the fuel to prevent any impurities from entering the engine.

The company says that it has already received significant interest in the units, and is in advanced conversations with shipowners, operators, OEMs, and shipyards on supply and installation. It expects to deliver the first system in 2023.

John Bergman says: “Ship owners want to invest in green fuels, but the challenge lies in finding the right solution and inspiring confidence to drive uptake. At Auramarine, we provide an expert technical review of a vessel or fleet’s fuel supply systems and determine the best possible adaptation of existing equipment to effectively and safely handle methanol and other future fuels, such as biofuel and ammonia.”

Partnering for Clean Solutions

The strong focus on researching new fuel options is not the only factor that distinguishes the company from other fuel system producers, although it is a crucial one. The others are customer focus, flexibility and a lifecycle approach. In order to best meet their demands, Auramarine collaborates with owners and operators, research centres, fuel suppliers and engine manufacturers.

“From the beginning, we have always tried to partner with companies to develop tailor-made solutions that precisely meet their needs. This approach is embedded in our DNA – we are very flexible in utilising our engineering capabilities to come up with exactly the solution that is required. ”

The company is also able to modify or retrofit its units to use with newer technology to accommodate different types of fuel, thus utilising its engineering capability to support its customers throughout the whole lifecycle of the unit. With future fuel uncertainty leading to some shipowners deferring newbuild orders, opportunities in terms of retrofit clean and energy-efficient solutions are increasing.

Reflecting on general developments in the industry, Mr Bergman points out that the green transition has no single solution. “There will be multiple fuels, and other actions required that have as yet not been in focus, such as reduction in engine power and speed.”

He notes that one area that is now being closely researched is biofuels, regarded as one of the most feasible and effective low-carbon fuel options. To this end, Auramarine has been participating in Bioflex, a four-year programme aimed at developing the most cost-effective and impactful solution for the production of sustainable and storable liquid fuels. Within the project, Auramarine has supplied a feeder booster unit for biofuels testing.

Sustainable and Profitable Growth

“Regulatory and commercial pressures to adopt sustainable solutions have increased considerably over the last decade and companies are now taking their social and environmental responsibility much more seriously. I believe that those that are at the frontline in this arena now, will have a stronger position in the future,” reflects Mr Bergman.

He further acknowledges that in the wake of the global pandemic, the company remains in robust shape, explaining that the business has not been dramatically affected by supply chain and logistics disruptions, as products from the Chinese plant are distributed on the internal market. Still, other challenges remain – such as a shortage of human resources.

“The marine industry seems to be less attractive for young talent than in the past, despite it being a central force in delivering global trade. Finding the right people, with the right talent and the right background is very difficult, and a certain limiting factor that can slow down business expansion,” John Bergman admits.

However, this limitation does not seem to prevent Auramarine from continuing on its growth path. The company has made a major investment in a new plant in China, planned to open in autumn, that will house the production of new fuel systems, and significantly increase overall capacity.

“Sustainable and profitable growth is certainly our prime goal. This will be achieved by providing customers with new, as well as sustainable retrofit solutions. As such, Auramarine is committed to supporting the shipping industry’s roadmap to decarbonisation.”

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