Maersk, Ørsted plan major U.S. Gulf e-methanol power-to-X project

Written by Nick Blenkey
New Maerk containerships will operate on e-methanol

Maersk’s next generation containerships will require at-scale power-to-X production of e-methanol.

Getting the new green fuels, such as e-methanol, that shipping needs to meet its climate ambitions will depend on the roll out of power-to-X facilities that can produce those fuels at scale, using renewable energy.

Now the U.S. Gulf Coast is set to be the site of a major power-to-X facility able to produce 300,000 tons of e-methanol annually.

Container shipping giant A.P. Moller – Maersk and Ørsted have signed a letter of intent (LOI) that will see Ørsted develop a 675 MW Gulf Coast power-to-X facility. Maersk will offtake the e-methanol it produces to fuel its newly ordered fleet of 12 e-methanol-powered vessels,

The facility will be powered by approximately 1.2 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy from new onshore wind and solar PV farms.

The biogenic carbon needed to produce e-methanol will be extracted through carbon capture at one or more large point sources.

GULF STATES HAVE ABUNDANT RENEWABLES

“The Gulf states have an abundance of cheap renewable energy resources, both solar and wind, making the region a natural location for large-scale production of green fuels, which we expect there will be a very large demand for in the U.S. going forward,” says Neil O’Donovan, CEO of Ørsted Onshore. “The power-to-X project with Maersk will expectedly be powered by approx. 1.2 GW of new onshore wind and solar PV, which in itself represent a significant investment in the region, while also helping Ørsted reach its target of 17.5 GW of installed onshore capacity in 2030.”

The power-to-X project in the Gulf Coast is the second green fuels collaboration between Ørsted and Maersk, after the potentially 1,300 MW Green Fuels for Denmark project in Copenhagen, which the two companies are partnering on with other large offtakers. Ørsted and Maersk will continue to investigate opportunities within green fuels together, as Maersk works towards its 2040 net-zero commitment.

In total, Ørsted’s power-to-X development pipeline consists of 11 projects, including the 70 MW FlagshipOne project in Sweden, which Ørsted is developing together with Liquid Wind. FlagshipOne is targeted to be commissioned in 2024 and could become one of the world’s first large-scale sustainable e-methanol facilities. In addition to the project pipeline, Ørsted has entered into several strategic agreements with a variety of partners.

MAERSK IN OTHER PROJECTS, TOO

Maersk’s agreement with Ørsted is one of six it has entered into with leading companies (see table).

“To transition towards decarbonization, we need a significant and timely acceleration in the production of green fuels,” says Henriette Hallberg Thygesen, CEO of Fleet & Strategic Brands, A.P. Moller – Maersk. “Green methanol is the only market-ready and scalable available solution today for shipping. Production must be increased through collaboration across the ecosystem and around the world. That is why these partnerships mark an important milestone to get the transition to green energy underway.”

Production Capacity Estimation Table

Strategic PartnersType of fuelProduction Capacity in 2024 (end of year) – tonnes/yearProduction Capacity in 2025 (end of year) – tonnes/yearProduction capacity added after 2025 – tonnes/yearGeography
CIMC ENRICbio-methanol50,000200,000China
European Energye-methanol2-300,000North & South America
GTBbio-methanol50,000300,000China
Orstede-methanol300,000North America
Promanbio & e-methanol100,000North America
WasteFuelbio-methano30,000South America
Total130,0006-700,000500,000
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