The first bio-methanol cargo ship inaugurated in Denmark

Ursula von der Leyen, inaugurating the “Laura Maersk”. SERGEI GAPON / AFP

Maersk unveiled a relatively small model in Copenhagen, the “Laura Maersk”, which will be able to transport some 2,136 containers.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has committed to halving its carbon footprint by 2050. According to the IPCC, the maritime sector today represents 2.89% of greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale, but seen the incessant increase in the quantity of goods traded, this figure could soon increase to 17%. Heavy fuel oil, the main fuel used by cargo ships, must be replaced by cleaner fuels to enable the sector to comply with the IMO commitment.

Maersk, a maritime transport giant, has invested heavily in one of the more ecological alternatives to fuel oil, bio-methanol. THE “Laura Maersk», the most recent in the Danish giant’s fleet, is fueled with this new fuel – a world first. Laura alone saves 100 tonnes of CO2 per day compared to a sister ship running on fuel oil. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, inaugurated the ship this Thursday in Denmark.

Green methanol is our fuel of choice (…) because it is the only solution capable of meeting the requirements of neutrality» carbon, said Vincent Clerc, CEO of the flagship of Danish industry during the inauguration. “Neither we nor the climate can afford to rest on our laurels or wait for other solutions to emerge in the late 2020s», he added before Ursula van der Leyen presided over the traditional bottle throwing on the hull.

Read alsoThe government allocates 4 billion euros to the production of low-carbon hydrogen

A promising alternative

Bio-methanol is very promising for the sector. If the rest of the maritime transport sector follows the path traced by Maersk, it could enable it to achieve the target in 2050. In fact, the fuel produces 80% less nitrogen oxide than heavy fuel oil. , limits carbon dioxide emissions by 60%, and almost completely eliminates sulfur emissions. Additionally, the boats do not need to be modified to be compatible, making the task much simpler. However, its production remains complicated, as for green fuels in other sectors. Its m production is not yet possible, due to lack of suitable infrastructure, and its cost remains high compared to maritime fuel oil, for the moment.

The production of bio-methanol, just like that of hydrogen, or fuels of non-fossil origin (SAF) for aviation, must comply with ecological and economic issues to be truly advantageous. To meet these obligations, Maersk is expected to invest 10 billion euros in Spain to launch m production of the new fuel.

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