Maersk launching first emission free vessel ahead of schedule

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

A.P. Moller – Maersk has announced it will be launching the world’s first carbon neutral liner vessel in 2023, seven years ahead of its initial 2030 plan.

All future Maersk owned newbuilds will have dual fuel technology installed, enabling either carbon neutral operations or operation on standard very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO).

“Our ambition to have a carbon neutral fleet by 2050 was a moonshot when we announced in 2018. Today we see it as a challenging, yet achievable target to reach,” said Søren Skou, CEO of A.P. Moller – Maersk.

Close to half of Maersk’s 200 largest customers have set, or are in the process of setting, ambitious science-based or zero carbon targets for their supply chains, and the figure is on the rise.

Maersk’s methanol feeder vessel will have a capacity of around 2,000 TEU and be deployed in one of its intra-regional networks. While the vessel will be able to operate on standard VLSFO, the plan is to operate the vessel on carbon neutral e-methanol or sustainable bio-methanol from day one.

Methanol supply

“It will be a significant challenge to source an adequate supply of carbon neutral methanol within our timeline to pioneer this technology,” said Henriette Hallberg Thygesen, CEO of fleet and strategic brands, A.P. Moller – Maersk.

“Our success relies on customers embracing this groundbreaking product and strengthened collaboration with fuel manufacturers, technology partners and developers to ramp up production fast enough. We believe our aspiration to put the world’s first carbon neutral liner vessel in operation by 2023 is the best way to kick start the rapid scaling of carbon neutral fuels we will need.”

“Maersk is once again showing industry leadership in adopting renewable Methanol as a key plank in its strategy towards carbon neutrality,” said Chris Chatterton, Chief Operating Officer of the Methanol Institute, which advocates for the adoption of methanol as a fuel in marine and other transport modes.

“Methanol is proven as a clean, efficient and safe marine fuel that offers immediate decarbonization benefits to vessel operators with substantial net GHG reductions, full compliance with IMO2020 and a pathway that leads to net carbon neutrality as production of renewable methanol grows.”

Both the methanol-fueled feeder vessel and the decision to install dual fuel engines on future newbuilds are part of Maersk’s ongoing fleet replacement.

Strengthened collaboration

Maersk continues to explore several carbon neutral fuel pathways and expects multiple fuel solutions to exist alongside each other in the future. Methanol (e-methanol and bio-methanol), alcohol-lignin blends and ammonia remain the primary fuel candidates for the future.

A key collaboration partner is the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, an independent, non-profit research and development centre, that works across sectors, organizations, research areas and regulators to accelerate the development and implementation of new energy systems and technologies.