Maersk converts container ship to green methanol fuel Ship’s crew

Danish shipping giant Maersk has announced plans to convert one of its existing ships to dual-fuel methanol propulsion, capable of running on green methanol.

The retrofit, an industry first, is scheduled to take place in 2024. Maersk said the goal is to repeat the retrofit on sister ships from 2027.

“With this initiative, we aim to pave the way for future scalable retrofit programs in the industry, accelerating the transition from fossil fuels to green fuels. Ultimately, we want to show that methanol retrofits can be a viable alternative to new builds,” said Leonardo Sonzio, director of fleet management and technology at Maersk.

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

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

“In 2021, we ordered the world’s first methanol-equipped container ship, committing to the policy of only ordering newly built ships that can run on environmentally friendly fuels,” added Sonzio. “At the same time, we investigated the potential of retrofitting existing ships with dual-fuel methanol engines. By working with MAN ES, we are now ready to demonstrate how retrofitting ships with methanol dual-fuel capabilities can be accomplished.”

Converting engines to run on methanol is an important part of 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 concrete short-term targets for 2030 to ensure alignment with the Paris Agreement and the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) methodology.

Maersk estimates that using “green” methanol produced from renewable energy sources can reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by up to 95% compared to traditional fossil fuels.

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