Maritime giant AP Moller-Maersk has officially unveiled its new methanol-powered shipping container, the Ane Maersk, which is the world’s largest vessel capable of running on the green hydrogen derivative.
It is able to carry almost eight times more containers than the Danish logistics company’s pioneering Laura Maersk, which became the planet’s first methanol dual-fuel container ship when it was launched in September last year.
The new vessel is able to carry 16,000 20ft shipping containers (TEU), compared to only 2,100 for the Laura Maersk.
The Ane Maersk is set to begin its maiden voyage on 9 February from the Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea, where it was built, to Ningbo, China. It will then continue on to Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Morocco, the UK, France, Belgium and Germany.
Maersk has ordered 24 container vessels equipped with dual-fuel engines capable of burning methanol, biodiesel and conventional bunker fuel — another 11 of which will be the same size as the Ane Maersk. Six will be larger, with a capacity of 17,000 TEU, while six will be 9,000 TEU.
A further six of these vessels — the sizes of which are not clear — are due to be unveiled by the end of this year.
The company says it has “secured sufficient green methanol to cover the vessel’s maiden voyage and continues to work diligently on 2024-25 sourcing solutions for its methanol-enabled vessel fleet”. This includes methanol derived from both green hydrogen and biogas.
Last November, Maersk agreed to buy 500,000 tonnes of green and biomethanol a year from Chinese wind turbine manufacturer Goldwind, although the exact split between the two production methods is not known.
While methanol (CH3OH) does release CO2 when burned, it is said to be carbon-neutral when produced using captured CO2 derived from non-fossil sources.
“This series of vessels will have a transformative impact on our ambition to progress on our industry-leading climate ambitions,” said Maersk CEO Vincent Clerc. “It is a visual and operational proof of our commitment to a more sustainable industry. With Ane Mærsk and her sister vessels we are expanding our offer to the growing number of businesses aiming to reduce emissions from their supply chains.”
The Ane Maersk was named after Ane Mærsk Mc-Kinney Uggla, chairman of parent company AP Moller Holding.