Integrated container logistics company A.P. Moller – Maersk announced today plans for the industry’s first-ever retrofit to convert an existing fossil fuel-powered container vessel to dual-fuel methanol-powered vessel, capable of operating on green methanol.
The announcement follows the release by Maersk last year of a series of carbon reduction targets, including goals to achieve net zero gas emissions in 2040 across its entire businesses and all scopes, as well as a 50% reduction in emissions per transported container in its ocean fleet, and a 70% reduction in absolute emissions from fully controlled terminals by 2030.
The shipping industry accounts for approximately 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and is facing increasing pressure to address its climate footprint, as companies look to decarbonize their supply chains, and regulators and governments introduce rules to reduce the sector’s emissions. Earlier this year, for example, EU lawmakers agreed to establish a new regulation mandating reductions in emissions in the maritime transport sector, with targets beginning as soon as 2025.
According to Maersk’s Head of Fleet Management and Technology, Leonardo Sonzio, with the new announcement, the company wants “to demonstrate that methanol retrofits can be a viable alternative to new buildings.”
“We have set an ambitious net-zero emissions target for 2040 across the entire business and have taken a leading role in decarbonising logistics. Retrofitting of engines to run on methanol is an important lever in our strategy. 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.”
According to the company, retrofitting engine parts to enable operation on methanol is a complex task, and forms only part of the larger retrofit, which also includes new fuel tanks, fuel preparation room and fuel supply system.
The company announced that it has signed an agreement with MAN Energy Solutions to retrofit the engine. The first retrofit is scheduled for 2024, with future vessels expected to be retrofit in 2027.
As part of Maersk’s recently announced carbon reduction goals, the company also introduced a principle of only ordering newbuilt vessels that can be operated on green fuels. Maersk has announced a series of recent orders for clean fuel-powered ships, including an order in July 2021 for the world’s first carbon-neutral methanol fueled container ship, followed by an order for 8 large methanol-powered ocean-going container vessels, and another order for six large ships.
“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. 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.”