The only problem? There is not enough carbon neutral methanol to power the vessels.
Maersk said on Tuesday that it will spend $1.4 billion on eight large ships capable of traveling on green methanol as well as conventional fuel. The ships, which will be built by Hyundai Heavy Industries and can carry around 16,000 containers, are expected to begin operations in early 2024.
They are 10% to 15% more expensive than standard ships. However, the Danish company needs to transform its fleet within a decade to achieve its goal of zero carbon emissions from its operations by 2050. Container ships typically have a lifespan of 20 to 25 years. year.
The key challenge will be sourcing the green methanol needed to sustainably power the new ships. Maersk hopes its order size will help kickstart the market for cleaner fuels, but admitting this will be difficult.
“Finding an adequate supply of carbon-neutral methanol from day one will be challenging, as it requires significant production ramping up to produce methanol,” the company said in a statement. suitable neutral carbon”.
CEO Soren Skou said: “It is time to act, if we are to tackle the shipping industry’s climate challenge. “This order demonstrates that carbon-neutral solutions are available today across the container ship segments, and Maersk is committed to our growing number of customers who want to decarbonize their supply chain.” surname.”
According to the company’s estimates, adding the ships to the company’s fleet when it decommissioned older ships would save 1 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
In 2020, the Maersk ship emitted about 33.9 million tons CO2 from a fleet of about 700, according to its sustainability report.
Last week, Maersk announced that it had secured the green fuel production partners needed to power its first ship running on carbon-neutral methanol, slated to launch in 2023. But that ship was significantly smaller than the ones the company had just ordered.