Maersk is currently involved in two projects that aim to develop lignin as a viable marine fuel.
Lignin is “one of the world’s most abundant and sustainable biomass resources,” Maersk said in a written statement. In nature, it is a complex organic polymer found in plants, but it is also released in large quantities as a residue during the production of paper.
In February, Maersk signed a memorandum of understanding with Progression Industry to develop a viable marine fuel from lignin. The deal states that if Progression can produce a lignin-based fuel that meets Maersk’s requirements, then Maersk will buy 50,000 metric tons of this fuel.
Separately, Maersk is involved with another project, called “Biomass for the 21st Century,” which is also looking at lignin as a potential marine fuel, as well as other sources of biofuel with consideration for logistics and scale production challenges. The project is co-funded by the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation and also involves DONG Energy and several other companies and academic institutions.
“In the longer term, oil is simply going to run out, so we need to start looking for alternatives,” said Jacob Sterling, head of environment and corporate social responsibility at Maersk Line, in a written statement.