Maersk invests in Blue World, orders methanol fuel cell pilot system

Maersk Growth, the venture arm of A.P. Moller – Maersk, invested 11 million EUR in Blue World Technologies’ pre-C-round alongside the Export and Investment Fund of Denmark (EIFO), Cycle Group, and other new and existing shareholders. 

Image credit: Blue World Technologies

The financing round was announced during COP28 in Dubai where Blue World Technologies was presenting their high-temperature PEM fuel cell technology as a solution to support the decarbonization of the maritime industry.

The company said that its methanol fuel cells enable the conversion of methanol to electricity with an electrical efficiency of up to 65%. Furthermore, fuel cells provide the potential for internal waste heat utilization to optimize the methanol-reforming process and for additional energy recovery that can be used onboard, improving the total system efficiency.

Blue World added that its patent-pending system architecture enables a reduction in fuel consumption of 20-30% paving the way for a reduction in the green premium related to fuelling with e-fuels. The fuel cell system architecture provides an opportunity for 100% capture of the generated CO₂ with a fuel increase of only 2-3% enabling attractive recycling business models.

Blue World Technologies has built a fuel cell factory in Aalborg, Denmark, ensuring in-house production of all the core fuel cell components alongside system development and manufacturing.

“Maersk has taken the lead on decarbonizing the shipping industry showing courage and determination to make a difference. But most importantly, they act. We are therefore extremely proud to have them on board in this financing round,” says Anders Korsgaard, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at Blue World Technologies.

A.P. Moller – Maersk has set an ambition for its entire business including its fleet of around 700 container vessels to reach net zero emission in 2040. The company has recently received its first green methanol-enabled vessel “Laura Maersk” and has another 24 vessels capable of sailing on green methanol on order for delivery in the coming years.

The Danish Minister for Climate, Energy, and Utilities, Lars Aagaard was present at the announcement together with Alexa Ríos Araneda, Head of Strategic Business Innovation at Maersk Growth and Peder Lundquist, Chief Executive Officer at The Export and Investment Fund of Denmark.

On top of the venture investment in Blue World, Maersk has ordered a methanol fuel cell pilot system for auxiliary power developed by Blue World to be installed on one of the Maersk’s methanol-powered container ships on order. The system is subject to being class-approved by ABS.

“At Maersk we see methanol fuel cells as an interesting and promising technology. With well above 100 methanol-enabled vessels on order across the industry, the demand for green fuel is rising. The prospect of fuel cell technology to significantly improve energy efficiency for these expensive green fuels could become an important component in closing the price gap to conventional bunker fuel and enable the green transition of shipping”, says Ole Graa Jakobsen, Vice President, Fleet Technology at A.P. Moller – Maersk.

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Certain hard-to-abate sectors such as heavy road transport, aviation, and shipping require the development of sustainable fuels. Our task is to find the technologies of the future and help them getting quickly from the very early stages to scaling and making transformative technologies at industrial scale and thus also at a lower cost point than seen before. That´s why this makes much sense to EIFO”, says Peder Lundquist, Chief Executive Officer at The Export and Investment Fund of Denmark.