Danish shipping giant Maersk has teamed up with partners Wallenius Wilhelmsen, BMW Group, H&M Group, Levi Strauss and Marks & Spencer to explore LEO fuel, a blend of lignin and ethanol, as part of the solution for sustainable shipping in the future.
The companies have formed the LEO Coalition to explore the environmental and commercial viability of LEO fuel.
“Shipping requires bespoke low-carbon fuel solutions which can make the leap from the laboratory to the global shipping fleet. Initiatives such as the LEO Coalition are an important catalyst in this process,” explained Søren Toft, chief operating officer of Maersk.
Lignin is a plant fiber and a byproduct of ethanol production and pulp and paper mills. It is often incinerated to produce steam and electricity.
“Our customers’ ambitions on sustainability are increasing rapidly, and we applaud this development. Clearly, LEO would be a great step forward for supply chain sustainability, and it has the potential to be a viable solution for today’s fleet, and not just a future vision,” said Craig Jasienski, Wallenius Wilhelmsen’s CEO.
Copenhagen University is currently running a laboratory-scale development of the potential marine fuel. The project aims to move into phase two – testing the fuel on actual vessel engines in the second quarter of 2020.
Last week, a study by Maersk and Lloyds Register claimed that the the best positioned fuels for research and development into net zero fuels for shipping are alcohol, biomethane and ammonia.
Maersk is also part of the Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition (DSGC), a consortium aiming to promote the use of biofuels in shipping.
“Shipping is responsible for 2-3% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, so the industry has significant potential to help create a carbon-neutral economy by 2050. Maersk is determined to play its part by leading the development and scaling of future solutions,” Maersk said in a release.