Maersk signs green methanol deal, largest of its kind for shipping

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Maersk signs green methanol deal, largest of its kind for shipping
Photo from Maersk.
  • A.P. Moller-Maersk signed a green methanol deal with Goldwind, a Chinese developer, marking a significant move to cut emissions in the global shipping sector
  • The agreement, extending into the next decade, supports Maersk’s commitment to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 and de-risks the initial stages of its net-zero journey
  • The deal involves the production of green bio-methanol and e-methanol, utilizing wind energy at a new facility in Northeast China, with production expected to start in 2026
  • Maersk plans to receive its first large ocean methanol-enabled vessel in 2024, reinforcing its commitment to a sustainable future

A.P. Moller-Maersk signed a landmark green methanol offtake agreement with Chinese developer Goldwind, the first large-scale deal of its kind for the global shipping industry.

“This deal is a milestone for Maersk as it enables us to significantly reduce our emissions footprint in this decade and stay aligned with the 1.5-degree Celsius trajectory as set out in the Paris Agreement, ensuring continued supply of low carbon shipping services to our customers in the second half of this decade,” said Rabab Raafat Boulos, chief infrastructure officer at A.P. Moller–Maersk, said in a statement.

The agreement extends into the next decade and is seen by Maersk, which has a goal to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, as a crucial step in de-risking the initial stages of its net-zero journey.

It also raises expectations for a competitive market for green methanol by 2030, with the potential to power more than half of the methanol-enabled capacity that Maersk has ordered each year.

For his part, Wu Gang, chairman of Goldwind, said: “Goldwind respects Maersk as a pioneer in the field of maritime green fuel, and we are excited to jointly promote the green transition with Maersk.”

Wu underscored Goldwind’s commitment to working with companies in the green methanol industry, noting their goal is to make green methanol a key and economically viable clean fuel for maritime use in the future.

The production of green methanol will be a combination of green bio-methanol and e-methanol, utilizing wind energy at a new facility in Hinggan League, Northeast China, approximately 1,000 kilometers northeast of Beijing.

Production is slated to commence in 2026, and with this offtake agreement, Goldwind anticipates finalizing the investment decision for the facility by year-end.

Commenting further on the agreement, Boulos said: “We are encouraged by the agreement because its scale and price confirm our view that green methanol currently is the most viable low-emission solution for ocean shipping that can make a significant impact in this decade.”

However, Boulos sees challenges ahead. The agreement shows the effort of ambitious developers worldwide, but there is still much work to be done to create a global market for green fuels and reduce carbon emissions in global shipping, she added.

Maersk is gearing up for its green future, with plans to take delivery of its first large ocean-going methanol-enabled vessel (16,000 TEU) in the first quarter of 2024. The company is working with a range of global partners to source solutions for the entire vessel series set to be delivered in 2024-25.

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