Offset CarbonMore On Maersk’s Green Shipping Rollout

As part of Maerk’s greener shipping strategy, a smaller container shipping vessel, the first of its kind, will be launched on the Baltic Sea next year. Maersk estimates these new smaller ships could save 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year, or 4.5% of its fleet’s emission. New vessels are being designed to operate on dirtier marine fuel, however, the aim is to eventually operate solely on green methanol. Methanol is part of the alcohol family of chemicals used in paints, plastics, clothing fabrics and pharmaceuticals, and as a vehicle fuel.Unlike ammonia or hydrogen, (which are also promoted as green fuels), methanol does not need to be stored under pressure, or extreme cold, and many ports already have the infrastructure to handle it.

“We think this is the good solution to get started with,” says Mr. Sterling. “It’s relatively easy to handle on ships, and the ship technology is well known. “At the moment most methanol is derived from natural gas. Green methanol does not rely on fossil fuels and can be made in a couple of ways. Bio-methanol is produced from biomass, such as agricultural waste. Heat, steam, and oxygen are used to convert the biomass into useful fuels, including methanol. There’s also e-methanol. Here renewable electricity splits water into oxygen and hydrogen, which is combined with carbon dioxide.

“Methanol is a hydrocarbon fuel. Burning it generates emissions out of the ship’s smokestack,” says Representative, from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT).
But, in its favour, green methanol has a low carbon footprint, if you look at the whole production process. That is because the methanol has been derived from CO2 from the air, or CO2 that has been captured by plants, which roughly cancels out the CO2 released when the methanol is burned as fuel.
“You have to have a sustainable source of carbon”


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