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What is green methanol? Denmark launches the world’s “first green container ship”.

origin 1European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the nomination ceremony in Copenhagen, Denmark. ©Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix via AP

The world’s “first green container ship” was christened this morning (14 September) in Denmark by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Laura Maersk – named after the Danish company that owns it – will be the first container ship to run entirely on green methanol.

This is a promising milestone for the international shipping sector, which produces around 3% of greenhouse gas emissions and hopes to reach net zero by 2050.

“This ship, at this moment, embodies Europe’s decision to be a pioneer in the fight against climate change,” von der Leyen he said during the nomination ceremony in Copenhagen.

“When I took office a few years ago, the idea of ​​a zero-emission shipping sector was nothing more than a dream,” she said, praising Maersk for seizing the opportunity presented by the European Green Deal and other factors ,” with the famous Danish foresight. “

The blue boat, 172 meters long, is the first of 25 powered by methanol ships ordered by Maersk and will set sail by 2030.

This will save 2.75 million tonnes of CO2 per year, von der Leyen said. With the crowning achievement that green fuel will be produced by solar energy in Denmark.

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What is green methanol?

Methanol is a colorless liquid that can be used as a fuel source for engines. It is designated as green when it is produced from low-carbon sources such as hydrogen or biomass.

Compared to conventional fuels such as petrol or dieselAccording to the Methanol Institute, green methanol can reduce CO2 emissions by 60-95%. It also has a lower sulfur content, reducing emissions of sulfur oxides that contribute to pollution air pollution and acid rain.

Green methanol is rapidly gaining ground as a clean energy solution, but it’s not a perfect alternative.

Despite its environmental benefits, the World Economic Forum (WEF) notes that there is a cost issue, with production prices even higher than those of methanol produced from fossil fuels.

And there are safety concerns too, as methanol is toxic, flammable and potentially explosive, meaning it needs to be stored and handled carefully.

origin 1The world’s first methanol-enabled container ship named “Laura Maersk”.SERGEI GAPON/AFP

How big is the green methanol solution?

Green methanol production remains low, with less than 0.2 million tonnes produced annually, compared to 98 million tonnes of conventional methanol obtained from fossil fuelsaccording to data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

But the market for green methanol is growing, and more and more countries and industries are recognizing its potential.

In addition to the maritime sector investing in green fuel, China has started using it in buses and heavy-duty vehicles.

Maersk and the larger Danish industrial group to which it belongs, AP Moller, are redoubling their efforts green methanol mashed potato. They have formed a new company, C2X, to produce clean methanol and are aiming for annual production of more than three million tons by 2030.

Large-scale green methanol projects, including in the Spanish port of Huelva and near the Suez Canal in Egypt, will help achieve this goal.

In his ceremonial speech, von der Leyen also underlined the role of cleanliness hydrogen in Europe’s energy transition. “By 2030 we aim to produce and import 20 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen every year in the EU,” she said.

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Where will the Laura Maersk sail?

The world’s first ship completed its maiden voyage from South Korea, where it was built, to Denmark in the month of July.

Maersk says the giant vessel will remain in the Toldboden area of ​​Copenhagen port for another week and provide “real operational experience” for the company’s seafarers who handle new engines and use green methanol as fuel.

“Successfully decarbonising shippingwe are not only furthering our fight against climate change, we are also creating new supply chains, new industries and thousands of new good jobs,” von der Leyen said during the nomination ceremony.

And if you’re wondering “why Laura?”, a statement from Maersk explains that the name is “deeply rooted” in some of the company’s early landmarks.

“When Captain Peter Maersk Moller bought his first steamship in 1886, he named her “Laura”. With its steam engine, “Laura” was a product of the second industrial revolution, making its impact on the maritime sector significant.”