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Maersk to Retrofit Containership to Green Methanol Fuel

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1237
June 21, 2023

Danish shipping giant Maersk has announced plans to retrofit one of its existing ships to dual-fuel methanol power capable of operating on green methanol.

The retrofit, an industry first, is scheduled to take place in 2024. Maersk said it aims to replicate the retrofit on sister vessels in starting in 2027.

“With this initiative, we wish to pave the way for future scalable retrofit programs in the industry and thereby accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to green fuels. Ultimately, we want to demonstrate that methanol retrofits can be a viable alternative to new buildings,” said Leonardo Sonzio, Head of Fleet Management and Technology at Maersk.

Maersk has signed an agreement with MAN Energy Solutions who will retrofit the engine.

Maersk currently operates more than 700 vessels, including around 300 owned. The company has a total of 19 methanol-powered dual-fuel containerships under construction in South Korea. The first ship, a 2,100 TEU capacity feeder vessel, is slated for delivery this summer from Hyundai Mipo Dockyards. The other 18 dual-fuel ships will be much larger (16,000 and 17,000 TEU capacity) and are being built by Hyundai Heavy Industries with deliveries planned in 2024 and 2025.

“In 2021, we ordered the world’s first methanol-enabled container vessel following a commitment to the principle of only ordering newbuilt vessels that can sail on green fuels,” added Sonzio. “Concurrently, we have explored the potential in retrofitting existing vessels with dual-fuel methanol engines. Having teamed up with MAN ES, we are now ready to demonstrate how retrofitting vessels with methanol dual-fuel capabilities can be done.”

The retrofitting of engines to run on methanol is an important part in Maersk’s strategy to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040 and accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to green fuels. The company has also set tangible near-term targets for 2030 to ensure alignment with the Paris Agreement and Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) methodology.

By using ‘green’ methanol produced from renewable energy sources, Maersk estimates it can reduce life cycle GHG emissions by up to 95% compared to traditional fossil fuels.

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