Norwegian state-owned energy giant Equinor has joined the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, a nonprofit, independent R&D centre, on its journey to accelerate and boost the decarbonisation of the shipping industry.

As part of its goal “to take a leading role in the energy transition,” Equinor has set its sails on “a journey to net-zero emissions,” which the Norwegian giant intends to achieve by optimising its oil and gas portfolio, accelerating growth in renewables, carbon capture and hydrogen.

This journey brought the state-owned firm to the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, which welcomed it as a strategic partner on Wednesday. They committed to a long-term strategic collaboration and contribution to the development of zero carbon technologies and solutions for the maritime industry.

While welcoming Equinor, Bo Cerup-Simonsen, CEO of Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, remarked: “This partnership has huge potential. As a major producer of maritime fuels and maritime player, Equinor has invaluable know-how and has already shown enormous energy and willingness to accelerate the transition with promising projects. This is the mentality we need, and we are looking very much forward seeing the synergies we can create together.”

Equinor brings “extensive experience” in large-scale production and transport of maritime fuels to this partnership, thus, the firm will provide contribution in areas like safety in operation and design, carbon capture storage design and operation, and renewable energy integration, including floating wind technology.

Since the Norwegian company is both a producer and a supplier of fuel to the maritime sector, it says that it has worked systematically on reducing its carbon intensity by developing new types of vessels and using alternative fuels.

Heidi Aakre, Equinor’s vice president of Shipping Source Equinor
Heidi Aakre, Equinor’s vice president of Shipping; Source: Equinor

While joining the Center, Heidi Aakre, Equinor’s vice president of Shipping, stated: “We are very pleased in joining the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping. The Center is complementary to other initiatives and organizations we are engaged in. As a producer and user of maritime fuel, Equinor is working to decarbonize shipping. Together with the maritime industry, we will develop new solutions contributing to substantial emission reductions.”

Decarbonisation roadmap for shipping industry

According to the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center, global shipping accounts for around 3 per cent of global carbon emissions with 100.000 ships consuming around 300 million metric tonnes of fuel per annum and this share is likely to increase as other industries tackle climate emissions in the coming decades.

Furthermore, the statement explains that achieving the long-term target of decarbonisation requires new fuel types and a systemic change within the industry. Since shipping is a globally regulated industry, it provides an opportunity to secure broad-based industry adoption of new technology and fuels.

Moreover, the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center believes that a coordinated effort within applied research is needed across the entire supply chain to accelerate the development of viable technologies. In line with this, industry leaders play “a critical role” in ensuring that laboratory research is successfully matured to scalable solutions matching the needs of the industry. On the other hand, new legislation will be required at the same time to enable the transition toward decarbonisation.

To this end, the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, together with its partners, explores viable decarbonisation pathways, facilitates the development and implementation of new energy technologies; builds confidence in new concepts and their supply chains; and accelerates the transition by defining and maturing viable strategic pathways to the required systemic change.

Founded in 2020 with a start-up donation of DKK 400m from the A.P. Moller Foundation, the Center for Zero Carbon Shipping has many partners, including Alfa Laval, American Bureau of Shipping, A.P. Moller – Maersk, BP, Cargill, DP World, Hapag-Lloyd, MAN Energy Solutions, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsui, Norden, Rio Tinto, Seaspan Corporation, Siemens Energy, Stolt Tankers, Sumitomo Corporation, Swire Group, Topsoe, TotalEnergies and V.Group.


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