Shipping giant Maersk has made a groundbreaking announcement, unveiling the world’s first vessel to operate on green methanol. This significant milestone marks a major step forward in addressing the environmental impact of one of the world’s most polluting industries.
The newly revealed container ship, which was ordered in 2021, features two engines: one that runs on traditional fuels and another powered by green methanol. Green methanol is an alternative component derived from biomass or captured carbon and hydrogen from renewable sources. In practical terms, the new vessel emits 100 tons less of carbon dioxide per day compared to diesel-based ships.
Maersk CEO Vincent Clerc expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “It’s a really symbolic day of our energy transition, really becoming a reality, something concrete that we can actually demonstrate, not just commitments and hard work, but actually something that everybody can see.”
This innovative ship is not only a significant achievement for Maersk but also sets a trend for the entire industry. Since the order of this pioneering vessel in 2021, 125 similar ships have been ordered by various companies, signifying a collective commitment to adopting the same green technology and energy transition.
While other shipping firms, including Evergreen, have also ordered vessels utilizing green methanol, Maersk stands out with its more ambitious carbon neutrality targets. Shipping accounts for approximately 3% of global carbon emissions, making its decarbonization a crucial challenge.
The global nature of the shipping industry presents difficulties in reaching a consensus on initiatives such as a shipping tax to accelerate decarbonization efforts. Denmark’s Minister of Industry, Morten Bodskov, emphasized the need for broad international support, as around 90% of traded goods worldwide are transported through ocean shipping.
Maersk’s CEO expressed support for a carbon tax, stating, “We’ve long advocated the implementation of a carbon tax to really level the playing field and provide the right economic incentives for companies to really lean into the green transition.” He also highlighted the importance of viewing the energy transition as an opportunity rather than a downside.
Maersk plans to receive a total of 25 vessels from the same order by 2024, contributing to its goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2040. However, concerns have been raised about the availability and cost of green methanol, as it remains scarce and challenging to transport. Maersk has taken proactive measures by signing agreements with nine green methanol suppliers worldwide to encourage increased production.
Despite the challenges, Maersk remains confident in securing a stable supply of green methanol as they continue to focus on scaling up production. This achievement represents a significant milestone in the shipping industry’s journey towards a sustainable future, with Maersk leading the way as an industry trendsetter.