MAERSK has partnered with six leading renewable energy-sourcing companies to boost the global production capacity of green methanol, a low-carbon fuel source.  

Through partnerships with CIMC Enric, European Energy, Green Technology Bank, Orsted, Proman, and WasteFuel; Maersk intends to source at least 730,000 tonnes of green methanol per year by the end of 2025.

The total production capacity is expected to amount to more than enough for the 12 green container vessels Maersk has ordered.

Henriette Hallberg Thygesen, CEO of fleet & strategic brands at Maersk, said the transition toward decarbonisation requires a significant and timely acceleration in the production of green fuels.

“Green methanol is the only market-ready and scalable available solution today for shipping,” she said.

“Production must be increased through collaboration across the ecosystem and around the world. That is why these partnerships mark an important milestone to get the transition to green energy underway.”

Once fully developed, the strategic partnerships will enable Maersk to source green methanol throughout North America, South America, and China.

CIMC Enric, a leading equipment manufacturer and engineering solutions provider for clean energy industries, will develop bio-methanol projects for Maersk in China.

The first phase of the project will have the capacity to produce 50,000 tonnes of green methanol per year from 2024, and the second phase will have the capacity to produce 200,000 tonnes per year.

“Our partnership on green methanol endeavour will not only support Maersk’s journey towards its net zero goal, but also will jointly contribute to a greener and more sustainable future for the shipping industry,” CIMC Enric executive director and general manager Leo Yang said

Renewable electricity developer European Energy will produce e-methanol for Maersk’s first green feeder vessel, which is expected to be operational by 2023.

The renewable energy company will also develop e-methanol projects in Latin America and the United States which will have the capacity to produce up to 300,000 tonnes of e-methanol each year from as early as 2025.

“We are very pleased to strengthen our already strong relationship with Maersk with this multi-year partnership where the annual target is to deliver up to 300,000 tons of e-methanol,” European Energy CEO Knud Erik Andersen said.

“The shipping industry is a vital part in global efforts to curb carbon emissions, and together with Maersk we are now leading this crucial transition towards running ships 100% on renewable energy.”

Green Technology Bank will support Maersk by facilitating the development of bio-methanol projects in China, the first of which plans to produce 50,000 tonnes annually from 2024, and the second of which to produce 300,000 tonnes annually.

“We believe this will also contribute to reduce China’s dependence on energy imports such as oil and Liquefied Natural Gas,” Green Technology Bank president Junhao Zhu said.

Danish renewable energy company Orsted will develop a project in the United States to supply Maersk with 300,000 tonnes of e-methanol per year from 2025.

“The maritime industry faces a chicken-and-egg challenge, where the supply and demand of green fuels will have to evolve in parallel to fast ensure a sustainable development of zero emission fuels,” Orsted deputy CEO and chief commercial officer Martin Neubert said.

Proman, an integrated energy company and the world’s largest methanol producer, will aim for supply Maersk with between 100,000 and 150,000 tonnes of green methanol per year from its facilities in North America.

“Maersk’s industry-leading commitment to green methanol is fully aligned with Proman’s belief that methanol should be a key part of the energy transition,” Proman chief executive David Cassidy said.

“We are excited to bring our deep industry experience to help deliver on Maersk’s bold ambitions, highlighting the viability of methanol as a marine fuel and working together to deliver green methanol and clean shipping at a global scale.”

California-based start-up WasteFuel, which transforms unrecovered waste into sustainable fuels, is developing a bio-methanol project in South America to produce over 30,000 tons annually for Maersk from 2024.

“Maersk’s order of 12 ships … that can be powered with green methanol is an unprecedented act of leadership in the corporate response to the climate emergency,” WasteFuel chairman and CEO Trevor Neilson said.

“Those ships need fuel and WasteFuel is ready to provide it, steadily increasing volume over the years to come.”