Illustration of Maersk's methanol-powered containership. Image courtesy Maersk

Maersk Lines Up Ninth Partnership on Green Methanol Fuel Supply

Mike Schuler
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December 15, 2022

A.P. Moller – Maersk has announced its ninth partnership on the supply of green methanol fuel to power the shipping giant’s fleet of methanol-powered containerships.

The latest comes in the form of a Letter of Intent signed with U.S.-based SunGas Renewables, Inc. covering the production of green methanol from multiple facilities that SunGas is developing in the U.S. Under the LOI, Maersk intends to off take the full volumes, beginning in 2026 when the first facility, with an annual production capacity of 390,000 tonnes, begins operations in 2026.

The green methanol will be used to power Maersk’s fleet of 19 containerships that Maersk currently has on order that will be powered by the carbon-free alternative fuel.

“Securing green marine fuels at a global scale within this decade will require rapid scale up of green methanol production capacity using a variety of technology and feedstock pathways,” says Emma Mazhari, Maersk’s head of Green Sourcing and Portfolio Management We are very pleased to welcome SunGas Renewables as a strategic partner in our efforts to achieve our goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2040 across our entire business, and to ensure meaningful progress is made within this decade in line with the Paris Agreement.”

Maersk placed its first order for eight 16,000 TEU methanol-powered ships with South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries in August 2021, and earlier this year exercised options for four additional sister ships. Last month, Maersk announced another order for six 17,000 TEU methanol-powered ships. All eighteen newbuilds will be delivered in 2024 and 2025. Maersk also has a single 2,100 TEU methanol-powered dual fuel feeder ship on order at Hyundai Mipo Dockyards with delivery planned by 2023.

To power the fleet, Maersk will need to source around 1 million tonnes of green methanol fuel per year. The company says that by using the alternative fuel, the 19 ships will save around 2.3 million tonnes of CO2 per year compared to conventionally-fueled ships. 

The LOI with SunGas becomes the ninth partnership Maersk has entered into with regard to its green methanol fuel supply. Other partners include Carbon Sink, CIMC ENRIC, Debo, European Energy, Green Technology Bank, Orsted, Proman, and Wastefuel.

The SunGas facilities will utilize the company’s flagship System 1000 platform to convert sustainably sourced residues from the forestry and wood products industries into green methanol.

“Our partnership with Maersk marks an important milestone for SunGas as we continue our mission to make a global impact in the energy transition,” said Robert Rigdon, CEO of SunGas. “We applaud Maersk’s leadership in catalyzing decarbonization of the entire marine shipping industry and look forward to working together to accelerate growth of production capacity for green methanol marine fuels.”

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