Maersk’s Inexperienced Transport Plan Runs Up In opposition to Scarce Cooking Oil

A.P. Moller Maersk A/S’s efforts to grow to be carbon-neutral face an uncommon hurdle: there isn’t sufficient used cooking oil to make the biofuel that powers the vessels.

“The biofuel is sourced from used cooking oil, however the issue is that the world doesn’t eat sufficient french fries,” mentioned Chief Govt Officer Soren Skou. “We are able to’t hold scaling it. If our progress charges proceed, we’ll run out of cooking oil in a single or two years.”

Nonetheless, Skou mentioned the Copenhagen-based provider, which controls a fleet of greater than 700 vessels, is completed ordering ships that solely run on fossil gas. Maersk has pledged to chop its personal carbon emissions to internet zero by 2050. About 90% of the products throughout the globe are transported by the delivery trade, with Maersk accounting for one-fifth of that complete. The trade is chargeable for roughly 2% of the world’s CO2 emissions.

Maersk makes use of biofuel in some vessels for shoppers who need to reduce emissions, together with clothes retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB and drug firm Novo Nordisk A/S. Demand for the product is rising “exponentially” from a low base, however a “weird” hurdle stands in the best way, Skou mentioned.

Costs for used cooking oil are increased than for brand spanking new cooking oil in Europe due to the excessive demand. Maersk can’t use the edible variant as a result of it’s categorized as meals and never biofuel, the CEO mentioned.

Maersk consumes about 12 million tons of marine oil per yr, roughly equal to all of the oil produced on the planet in at some point. In its plan to go inexperienced, Maersk is utilizing biofuels now and going ahead plans to make use of extra low-emission ships that run on inexperienced methanol.

Earlier this yr, Maersk ordered the world’s first container ship that doesn’t emit carbon. The vessel, due for supply in mid-2023, has dual-engine know-how enabling it to sail on both carbon-neutral methanol or conventional very low-sulfur gas oil.

“There might be extra investments within the coming quarters,” Skou mentioned Friday in response to questions. “We’ll order some ships earlier than the top of the yr.”

Skou can be involved in regards to the provide of inexperienced methanol, calling for a world effort to increase manufacturing capability.

“So the ship know-how will not be the limiting issue, however the availability of the inexperienced fuels is,” he mentioned. “It’s a brand new world power system that must be constructed and that’s a large problem.”