Maersk invests in US startup to secure green bio-methanol production

Danish shipping major A.P. Moller – Maersk has decided to invest in California-based WasteFuel, a start-up focused on turning waste into sustainable aviation fuel, green bio-methanol, and renewable natural gas.

Illustration; Image credit Maersk

This investment is made through Maersk Growth, the corporate venture arm of A.P. Moller – Maersk.

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As explained, the investment will enable WasteFuel to develop biorefineries that utilise the most effective technologies available to produce sustainable fuels from unrecoverable waste that would otherwise degrade, and release methane and other harmful emissions into the atmosphere.

“Maersk is confident that green bio-methanol is one of the promising fuels of the future as it can be scaled up and play an important role in decarbonising supply chains within the next 10-15 years. For each feedstock and project, we evaluate its sustainability as well as the emission reductions, using lifecycle analysis including all greenhouse gases,” the company said.

The announcement comes two weeks after Maersk ordered a total of eight large ocean-going container vessels capable of being operated on carbon-neutral methanol.

The vessels will be built at South Korean shipyard Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), with deliveries scheduled to start in Q1 2024.

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“We know that sourcing an adequate amount of green fuel for our methanol fueled vessels will be very challenging, as it requires a significant production ramp up globally,” Morten Bo Christiansen, VP and Head of Decarbonisation, A.P. Moller – Maersk, commented.

“Collaboration and partnerships are key to scaling the production and distribution of sustainable fuels, and we look forward to doing exactly that with WasteFuel; exploring potential future green solutions not just for our vessels, but also for Maersk aviation and trucking activities.”

WasteFuel is also developing projects in Asia and the Americas including a biorefinery in Manila, Philippines, to produce low-carbon fuels.

“WasteFuel was launched to solve two problems: the waste crisis that affects millions of peoples’ lives globally and the growing demand for low-carbon fuels that can reduce overall emissions,” Trevor Neilson, Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of WasteFuel, said.

“We’re proud to have partnered with Maersk to usher in an era of more environmentally conscious sea transport. Our goal is for WasteFuel to reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by 90% compared to fossil fuels.”

With the investment, Morten Bo Christiansen, VP and Head of Decarbonisation at A.P. Moller – Maersk, is joining the Board of WasteFuel.

Global supply chains can and must be decarbonized by 2050. Collaboration and investments in innovative projects are one of the most important ways to reach a carbon neutral fuel value chain, according to Maersk.

In August, Maersk also announced an e-methanol sourcing agreement in Europe. It partnered with REintegrate, a subsidiary of the Danish renewable energy company European Energy, to produce green fuel for its first methanol-powered feeder vessel.

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