Shipping giant Maersk seeks more methanol for fuel

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Nov. 16 (UPI) — A.P. Moller-Maersk, among the largest maritime shipping companies in the world, said Wednesday it was teaming up with a U.S.-based company to secure greener fuels for the industry.

Maersk said it signed a letter of intent with Carbon Sink, a company working to develop methanol production facilities in the United States. Its first facility will be incorporated into an existing bioethanol plant in South Dakota and will enter into service within the next five years.

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“Securing green fuels at scale in this decade is critical in our fleet decarbonization efforts,” said Berit Hinnemann, the head of green fuels at A.P. Moller-Maersk. “We have set a 2040 net zero target for our entire business — but importantly, to stay in line with the Paris Agreement, we have also set 2030 targets to ensure meaningful progress in this decade.”

Methanol burns cleaner than conventional fuels, though processing may be complex. Carbon Sink has found a way to convert industrial-based streams of carbon dioxide into fuels.

“The CO2 for the first project will be waste CO2 captured from the Red River Energy bio-ethanol plant, recycling those emissions into green methanol,” the partners announced.

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Maersk added that it was committed to purchasing all of the methanol from the Red River facility.

A U.N.-backed protocol dubbed IMO 2020 obligates maritime shippers to use cleaner fuels such as liquefied natural gas, methanol and ultra-clean fuel oils or have an exhaust cleaning device called a scrubber on board as part of a coordinated effort to cut emissions from the sector.

From the Egyptian resort city of Sharm El-Sheik, the U.S. and Norwegian governments said they’re upping the ante with a green shipping challenge unveiled during the opening day of the COP27 summit on the environment.

“Greenhouse gas emissions from the shipping sector are significant, increasing and on a trajectory that is not compatible with the goals of the Paris Agreement,” they said.

The agreement with Carbon Sink marks the eighth such agreement on green fuels for Maersk.