MGC teams up with Maersk and Yokohama city to promote use of green methanol

Japan’s Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company (MGC) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the City of Yokohama and shipping giant Maersk to promote the use of green methanol at the Port of Yokohama.

Courtesy of MGC

On December 27, MGC announced the signing of the MoU which aims to decarbonize international marine transportation, promote the Japanese government’s International Container Strategic Port and Harbour Policies, and contribute to the Port of Yokohama’s shift to carbon neutrality.

Under the agreement, MGC will collaborate with Maersk and the City of Yokohama to study ways of supplying methanol and green methanol as marine fuels. With the cooperation of relevant government agencies, MGC will work to realize and promote methanol bunkering in Japan and contribute to decarbonization in marine transportation.

The Japanese company already produces methanol from CO2 and hydrogen at its Niigata Plant under the Carbopath Circular Carbon Methanol (CCM) concept and starting next spring, the same plant is scheduled to begin production of biomethanol using unused biogas generated from a nearby sewage treatment plant (septic center) owned by Niigata Prefecture as a feedstock.

The Carbopath initiative aims to recycle CO2, waste plastics, biomass, and other materials into methanol for use as chemicals, fuel, and in power generation, and is expected to contribute to the decarbonization of shipping around the world.

On the other hand, the demand for green methanol as a marine fuel is growing as the shipping industry majors order methanol-ready vessels.

Maersk has 24 container vessels on order, all of which will be equipped with dual-fuel engines and will be able to operate on green methanol. Laura Maersk, the world’s first containership powered by green methanol, officially commenced her operations in September this year.

Recently, the shipping company revealed that the first of eighteen 16,000 methanol-powered vessels will be deployed on the Asia-Europe trade lane, starting from February 9, 2024.

The following two sister vessels will be deployed in the first half of 2024 with naming events taking place in Yokohama, Japan, and Los Angeles, USA.