• Maersk orders eight green methanol-fuelled container ships, and will only order net-zero vessels from now

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

Danish shipping giant Maersk has ordered eight new vessels capable of running on ‘green’ methanol as well as traditional bunker fuel. Hyundai Heavy Industries will be the maker of the 16,000-container ships, which are expected to be ready by 2024, and there is also an option for a further four ships after the initial eight. The first eight are to replace ageing members of the fleet rather than to add to the fleet capacity. As the Financial Times reports, each vessel is to cost about US$175 million (€150 million), around 10-15% higher than a conventional ship of the same size, and green methanol is expected to cost around twice that of conventional bunker fuel. This of course will result in higher transport costs, but Maersk believes customers such as Amazon and H&M will be willing to pay extra for carbon-free transportation. This will have a flow-on effect, of deployment of a new technology helping to reduce the unit cost of expansion, making ‘green’ transportation more affordable for all. On Maersk’s part, it believes the technology is advanced enough now that it will only ever order new vessels with dual-fuel or single green fuel technology. With the lifetime of a container vessel being 20-25 years, this is highly important for Maersk, which aims to reduce its emissions to zero by 2050. It expects the biggest challenge in operating the new ships will be in obtaining enough green methanol.