Maersk taps Equinor to supply fuel for its landmark green methanol-powered feeder boxship

Danish liner giant Maersk has struck a deal with Norwegian energy major Equinor for the supply of green methanol for its first methanol-fuelled 2,100 teu feeder vessel into the first half of 2024.

Equinor has a methanol plant at Tjeldbergodden in mid-Norway and is already an established player in Europe, with ambitions “to be a key provider of green methanol in the marine fuel segment”, according to Alex Grant, senior vice president for the liquid commodity segment at Equinor. In June, the company led a $30m investment round in Island-based Carbon Recycling International (CRI) which offers a process technology to produce methanol from carbon dioxide.

The deal with Maersk ensures green methanol supply for the ship in Rotterdam from its entry into operation this month and on a loop from Northern Europe into the Baltic Sea after the naming ceremony in Copenhagen set for September 14.

Long term, the Danish-flagged 172-m-long vessel will be fueled by e-methanol from a plant in southern Denmark operated by European Energy, which is expected to come on-stream in the first half of 2024.

The Copenhagen-based shipping and logistics group has been partnering with energy companies and bunker suppliers with the aim of scaling up green methanol production and deliveries for its 24 additional methanol-enabled vessels on order for delivery between 2024 and 2027.

With Equinor entering this business segment, Rabab Boulos, chief infrastructure officer at Maersk, said it is critical to get energy majors to the table and start supplying future fuels at scale.

“This is the form of engagement we need to continue accelerating the pioneering journey towards a green fuel economy for global shipping. With more than 100 methanol enabled vessels on order across the industry, the demand for green fuel production is rising and will continue to do so in the years to come,” noted Boulos.

Maersk defines green fuels as fuels with 65% to up to 95% GHG emissions reduction over their life cycle compared to fossil fuels. Equinor will deliver biomethanol produced from biogas from manure. The biogas is upgraded to biomethane and injected into the existing gas grid and the methanol is produced from the biomethane in the grid on a mass-balance basis. The existing European biogas certificate system is used to trace the attributes of the biomethane to the biomethanol and safeguard against double-claims. This way, green methanol can be produced in existing facilities using existing infrastructure and plants enabling a quick route to market. 

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