The Danish integrated shipping company, Maersk has signed a contract for securing green methanol, as the world’s largest shipping firm is looking forward to operating its first carbon-neutral ship in 2023.
Maersk has signed its first deal with Denmark’s renewable energy firm, REintegrate to produce approximately 10,000 tonnes of e-methanol, a carbon-neutral alternative to traditional marine fuels, which the vessel will need to operate each year.
With about 90 percent of world trade transported by sea, global shipping accounts for nearly 3 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions. Maersk needs to have a carbon-neutral fleet by 2030 to meet its target of net-zero emissions by 2050.
“Yes, it’s one vessel, but it’s a prototype for a scalable carbon-neutral solution for shipping,” Mr. Morten Bo Christiansen, Maersk’s head of decarbonization, stated.
The company is also working on tackling challenges in securing the supply of fuel, which Mr. Christiansen pegged at 20 million tonnes for the entire fleet. As the name suggests, green methanol is produced by using renewable sources such as biomass and solar energy.
“Let’s stop talking about fossil fuels and instead focus on scaling this prototype because it’s actually solving the problem,” he said while declining to give a time frame for when such a market would be realistic.
Future vessels fitted with engines that can run on green methanol will be 10 percent to 15 percent more expensive for the first years, while the cost of the fuel would cost more than twice as much as conventional bunker fuel, Mr. Christiansen said.
“The good news is that because of the amount of oil we consume we can actually start shaping a market just on our demand,” Mr. Christiansen said. While Maersk would carry the costlier vessels on its balance sheets, the additional fuel cost would be shared with its customers, he added.
The Maersk-owned, world’s first methanol-fueled boxship is being built at the Hyundai Mipo Dockyard, in South Korea. The 172-meter long feeder would be sailing in northern Europe, as a part of Sealand Europe’s fleet, which is a subsidiary of Maersk. The vessel will trade in the Baltic shipping route, between northern Europe and the Bay of Bothnia.
The methanol propulsion configuration of the ship would be developed together by Hyundai Engine and Machinery, MAN Energy Solutions, and Himsen, while the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) would be classifying the ship.