Major players launch zero carbon shipping research center

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Center is named for shipping legend Mærsk McKinney Møller

Backed by a start-up donation worth more than $60 million from the A.P. Møller Foundation, a group of leading industry players is taking the next step towards lowering shipping emissions by launching the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping.

The founding partners behind the initiative are ABS, A.P. Møller – Mærsk, Cargill, MAN Energy Solutions, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, NYK Lines and Siemens Energy.

The center will be based in Copenhagen, Denmark. It will be a non-profit organization, set up as a commercial foundation with a charitable purpose. As an independent research center, it will work across the entire shipping sector with industry, academia and authorities. A highly specialized, cross-disciplinary team will collaborate globally to create overviews of decarbonization pathways, accelerate the development of selected decarbonizing fuels and powering technologies, and support the establishment of regulatory, financial and commercial means to enable transformation. To define the strategic direction of the center, a Board of Directors is being established. Søren Skou, CEO of A.P. Møller – Mærsk has been confirmed as Board Member. Additional members of the Board of Directors will be announced upon appointment.

“With this donation, the A. P. Møller Foundation wishes to support the efforts to solve the climate issue in global shipping,” said Ane Uggla, Chairman of the A.P. Møller Foundation Board. “My father, Mærsk McKinney Møller was a visionary leader in the global shipping industry for more than seven decades. He was concerned about shipping’s impact on the environment. Already in the 1980’s he championed the use of low sulfur fuel, and he pioneered the first double hull oil tankers in the 1990’s to minimize the risk of oil spills. Therefore, I find it very natural that my father’s name will be connected to the center.”

During the first two to three years the center will recruit around 100 employees to the Copenhagen-based office and collaborate with new partners across the globe. The founding partner companies have committed one-third of the needed staff, the remaining two-thirds will be recruited independently. In addition to leadership and administration, the Center staff will include subject matter experts in energy, fuels and ship technology as well as regulatory affairs, finance and the global energy transition.

“Joining this partnership makes perfect sense for us as our business strategy is already significantly underpinned by system technologies that are leading our customers to a decarbonized future,” said Dr. Uwe Lauber, CEO of MAN Energy Solutions. “We welcome the opportunity to work with industry partners in achieving this strategy and have publicly spoken in favour of a ‘maritime energy transition’ for some time now, which draws on the increased use of low-emission fuels. The concrete targets set for carbon neutrality and the first zero-emission vessel are bold but will undoubtedly hasten their respective developments, in which we are very happy to play our part.”

“Through our extensive research on low carbon strategies for shipping, we understand how decarbonization is a complex riddle of vessel technologies, fuels and operational optimization. ABS is proud to contribute to the work of the center, which will undoubtedly play a significant role in solving this riddle for the industry,” said ABS Chairman, President and CEO, Christopher J. Wiernicki.

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