EU-Catalyst Partnership to back Ørsted’s FlagshipONE e-methanol project

Danish energy company Ørsted has secured support from the EU-Catalyst Partnership, which consists of the European Commission (EC), Breakthrough Energy Catalyst, and the European Investment Bank (EIB), for its FlagshipONE project, also known as Europe’s largest e-methanol plant.

Digital rendering of FlagshipONE. Courtesy of Ørsted

On December 1, at COP28, Ørsted announced the support that will see Breakthrough Energy Catalyst acquire a 15% equity interest in FlagshipONE and provide a grant to the project, subject to the fulfillment of funding conditions.

With the funding supporting the project, Ørsted intends to seek to sign long-term offtake agreements, creating a new model for the shipping industry to purchase fuel, which will be needed for future projects to secure the capital required to scale production of green fuels.

In addition, Ørsted expects the project to receive a grant from Horizon Europe and a quasi-equity investment from EIB through InvestEU. EU funding for the partnership is from Horizon Europe and the EU Innovation Fund within the framework of InvestEU according to the established governance procedures. According to the company, the EU funding will contribute to the first commercial demonstration of the technology of FlagshipONE.

Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank, said: “Putting the world on track for net-zero will require game-changing technologies, especially for the hard-to-abate sectors in the economy. Today, we’re announcing our intention to support – under the EU-Catalyst Partnership – Ørsted’s FlagshipONE project to decarbonise the heavy shipping industry. Through our cooperation with the European Commission and Breakthrough Energy Catalyst, we seek to finance the development and scale-up of innovative solutions that are essential for transitioning to climate neutrality.”

Mads Nipper, Group President and CEO of Ørsted, coomented: “We’re extremely proud to partner with three of the most forward-thinking and ambitious leaders in the green transformation, highlighting that FlagshipONE is truly a breakthrough project. Ørsted’s history of scaling technologies from first-of-a-kind to widespread adoption – often with support from EIB – gives us confidence that, together with Breakthrough Energy Catalyst, the European Commission, and EIB, we can apply that hard-won experience to delivering the maturation of the European P2X industry.”

Rodi Guidero, Executive Director of Breakthrough Energy and Managing Partner of Breakthrough Energy Ventures, stated: “Today’s announcement demonstrates the tangible impact of Breakthrough Energy Catalyst’s approach. This collaboration helps advance FlagshipONE – from finalising development, commencing construction, and, ultimately, achieving operations. Together, we’re providing a blueprint for accelerating first-of-a-kind solutions that will help Europe meet its decarbonisation goals.”

Originally developed by Liquid Wind, FlagshipONE was acquired by Ørsted in December 2022 and the final investment decision (FID) was reached. The construction of the plant began on 24 May 2023.

FlagshipONE is located on the grounds of the biomass-fired combined heat and power plant Hörneborgsverket in Örnsköldsvik, operated by Övik Energi. As explained, the e-methanol from FlagshipONE will be produced using renewable electricity and biogenic carbon dioxide captured from Hörneborgsverket. In addition, the project will use steam, process water, and cooling water from Hörneborgsverket, and excess heat from the e-methanol production process will be delivered back to Övik Energi and integrated into their district heating supply.

Scheduled to become operational in 2025, the plant will produce around 50,000 tonnes of e-methanol each year, enabling the shipping industry off-takers to achieve a >95 % reduction in carbon emissions versus when using conventional fossil fuels.

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