Maersk orders eight large container ships to run on ‘carbon neutral’ e-methanol

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After announcing its intention to operate a small, carbon-neutral vessel by 2023, Danish shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk has ordered eight large ocean-going container ships capable of running on “green” e-methanol.

Maersk this year announced its intention to operate a carbon neutral liner by 2023, building on an existing commitment to achieve net zero emissions across all of its operations by 2050. Subsidiary energy REintegrate, which produces fuel from green hydrogen and CO2 from bio-based sources.

Today (August 24), the company revealed that it has placed an order for eight large methanol-powered vessels from Hyundai Heavy Industries, with the possibility of placing an order for four additional container ships in 2025.

The new ships will replace the old ships that have reached the end of their life and are being dismantled by the first quarter of 2024. Maersk estimates that once the eight ships are in service, they will generate one million tonnes of CO2 less. annually from its maritime fleet. The carbon savings are attributable not only to the change of fuel, but also to an improvement in efficiency.

All vessels will be able to operate on 100% e-methanol or in dual fuel mode. In dual fuel mode, conventional low sulfur fuel is used as well as methanol.

Maersk said it would “operate the ships with carbon neutral e-methanol or sustainable bio-methanol as soon as possible.” The statement continued: “Supplying an adequate amount of carbon-neutral methanol from the first day of commissioning will be a challenge, as this requires a significant increase in the production of carbon-neutral methanol, for which Maersk continues. to engage in partnerships and collaborations with stakeholders.

The company’s head of decarbonization, innovation and business development, Jacob Sterling, added in a LinkedIn post that the company would source its 100% low-carbon methanol “if not from the start. first day, shortly after ”.

Maersk has not yet announced whether it plans to use the offset to close a possible gap between the supply and demand of carbon-neutral fuel, or for when it will operate the vessels in dual-fuel mode.

“We are very excited about this addition to our fleet, which will provide our customers with unique access to carbon neutral shipping on the high seas while balancing their needs in terms of competitive slot costs and flexible operations. », Henriette, general manager of Maersk for the fleet and the strategic brands. said Hallberg Thygesen.

“For us, this is the ideal type of large vessel to enable sustainable global high seas trade over the next decades, and based on our dialogue with potential suppliers, we are confident that we will be successful in securing the carbon neutral methanol required. “

Regarding Thygesen regarding customers, Maersk said that more than half of its top 200 customers have set or committed to setting net zero targets.

“With logistics and distribution making up around 15% of our greenhouse gas emissions footprint, it is important that we work with partners who opt for low carbon fuels,” said Michelle Grose, Manager logistics and order processing for Unilever. Unilever is aiming for net zero by 2039.

Shipping is currently responsible for around 3% of global CO2e emissions, but European Parliament researchers estimate this proportion could reach 17.5% by mid-century without a radical change in approach.

Sarah george


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