Maersk Growth invests in green methanol

Maersk Growth, a venture arm of industry major A. P. Moller – Maersk, has revealed an investment in Berlin-based startup C1 Green Chemicals AG which specializes in the production of green methanol.

Image credit Maersk

The company has developed innovative technology enabling the mass production of green methanol without the usual premium paid for sustainably produced methanol.

C1 has invented new ultra-efficient catalysis for green methanol to be produced from waste biomass or CO2 and H2, which will enable green methanol to become cost competitive.

The chemical processes are designed with the help of quantum chemical simulations and implemented in proprietary production technologies.

Due to the containerized design of the C1-reactor, currently, in the pilot stage, production is possible where sustainable feedstocks are available or close to harbours where green methanol is needed to fuel the vessels.

“With current technology, powering our vessels with green methanol will be much more expensive. We believe in C1’s ultra-efficient catalysis to bring down the price – and scale fast with their decentralized approach,” says Maria Strandesen, Head of Future Fuels Innovation at Maersk.

Maersk has 19 green methanol vessels with dual-fuel engines on order, which are at the center of the company’s plans to meet its net-zero emissions target by 2040 across the entire business.

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Green methanol is the alternative fuel of choice to start decarbonising the shipping industry today and save millions of tons of CO2. However, price and scale remain a challenge.

“Green methanol is the most promising way to drastically cut emissions from long-distance shipping at scale in the short term, and we see much traction in that space. We are really excited about C1’s cutting-edge scientific approach, reinventing every production step. Such a level of innovation and attention to detail is key to success, and we believe that their technology can play an important role in decarbonising hard-to-abate industries, including shipping,” explains Peter Votkjaer Jorgensen, Partner at Maersk Growth.

“We are proud to have partnered with the global pioneer in green shipping in an industry where many fear a first-mover disadvantage. The 19 methanol-enabled container ships they have ordered already are a strong advanced buying signal into the market. We look forward to joining forces with Maersk to make low climate impact shipping a reality,” states Christian Vollmann, who has founded C1 together with renowned chemists Dr. Marek Checinski, Dr.-Ing. Ralph Krähnert and Dr. Christoph Zehe.

C1’s existing investors include Planet A Ventures, Square One Ventures and experienced industry managers such as Jim Hagemann Snabe, chairman of the supervisory board of Siemens, or Prof. Wolfgang Reitzle, most recently chairman of the supervisory board of Linde.

Maersk has signed nine agreements with strategic partners working to supply the green fuel needed for the 19 methanol-enabled container vessels, the most recent one being with SunGas Renewables. The other partners are Carbon SinkCIMC ENRIC, Debo, European Energy, Green Technology Bank, Orsted, Proman, and Wastefuel.

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