Methanol Fuelled Container Ships

18 July 2023

The Danish shipping giant Maersk has successfully secured a supply of green methanol for the maiden voyage of the world’s first methanol-enabled containership, after taking delivery last week of the vessel known as HMD Hull #4168, which was built at the Hyundai Dockyard. Maersk has signed a deal with Dutch producer OCI Global on the delivery of green bio-methanol for the maiden journey.

The 21,500 km trip from Ulsan, South Korea to Copenhagen, Denmark — more than halfway around the globe – will provide real operational experience for Maersk seafarers handling the new engines and using methanol as fuel, as the company prepares to receive a fleet of new, large ocean-going methanol-enabled ships from 2024.

Maersk – now the second largest containership operator in the world – has recently placed a fresh order for six dual-fuel methanol-ready 9,000 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) container carrying vessels. The line now has a total of 25 methanol-enabled vessels on order.

OCI Global produces its green methanol at a US-based facility by using captured biogas from decomposing organic waste in landfills. The biogas is upgraded to biomethane and injected into the gas grid and the methanol is produced from the biomethane in the grid on a mass-balance basis.

The decarbonization of the maritime industry is gaining pace, led by new zero-emissions and hybrid-powered vessels. A group of fuel production stakeholders last week called on the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to develop ambitious interim targets for 2030 and 2040 to eliminate emissions from shipping, in line with the 1.5 degrees Celsius temperature goal of the Paris Agreement – and the full decarbonisation of the shipping industry by 2050.

For more on the ‘greening’ of our industry, read our post Cleanliness of Shipping Containers.

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