Maersk could be running its first carbon-neutral vessel on green methanol in two years from now. File Image / Pixabay
Container shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk is 'very confident' in its ability to source a regular supply of green methanol in time for the arrival of its first carbon-neutral ship in 2023.
Maersk has now ordered the ship -- a 2,100 TEU feeder vessel -- from Hyundai Mipo Dockyards for delivery in mid-2023, it said last week. The company is already in discussions with suppliers, Morten Christiansen, head of decarbonisation at Maersk, said in a webinar the company hosted this week.
"We don't have ink on paper," he said in the video.
"But I think it's fair to say that we are still very confident that we can get the supply for this particular vessel; we are in dialogue with partners there."
In the webinar Ole Graa Jakobsen, head of fleet technology at Maersk, said that aspects of developing the ship were turning out to be more expensive than expected.
"We do see some challenges on the cost side," he said.
"What we realised is that on the tanker vessels that have been built previously [to run on methanol], it's only the main engine that has been running on methanol.
"The auxiliary engine has been run on conventional fuel.
"So one of the challenges has been to find the auxiliary engine suppliers that are ready to develop methanol engines, and that has proven to be maybe more expensive than we had hoped for.
"But this is all about building scale and getting the cost down over time."
The company is also confident in the possibility of building larger vessels to run on methanol after the initial feeder vessel, Jakobsen said.
"I am quite sure that we will be ready to do that," he said.
"You know the basic technology, you know about what basically works.
"It's not an R&D effort, it's an engineering effort to build a larger engine.
"The ideas and the thinking that we have around how to apply methanol in the engine room and the tanks and the bunkering -- that will also be similar."