Seatrade Maritime is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Maersk to retrofit dual-fuel methanal power to container ship

Maersk A Maersk container vessel seen from above
Maersk will retrofit dual-fuel methanal power into one of its container ships in 2024 – a first for the shipping industry.

The engine retrofit will be carried out by MAN Energy Solutions and is intended to be the first in a series; sister vessels of the retrofit candidate are expected to undergo similar conversions as they go for special survey in 2027.

Beyond the replacement of engine components, Maersk said the retrofit will involve new fuel tanks, a fuel preparation room, and new fuel supply system.

“Detailed engineering for the first retrofit is ongoing and the actual implementation will take place in the middle of 2024. Meanwhile, discussions with potential yards are ongoing,” said Ole Graa Jakobsen, Head of Fleet Technology and person responsible for the retrofit project at Maersk.

As the shipping industry approaches a multi-fuel future to meet decarbonisation objectives, Maersk has chosen green methanol as its future fuel, with multiple supply agreements in place, newbuilds with methanol engines on order, and now a retrofit programme.

“We have set an ambitious net-zero emissions target for 2040 across the entire business and have taken a leading role in decarbonising logistics. Retrofitting of engines to run on methanol is an important lever in our strategy. With this initiative, we wish to pave the way for future scalable retrofit programs in the industry and thereby accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to green fuels. Ultimately, we want to demonstrate that methanol retrofits can be a viable alternative to newbuildings,” said Leonardo Sonzio, Head of Fleet Management and Technology at Maersk.

The next milestones in Maersk’s decarbonisation road map are in 2030, where the company aims for a 50% reduction in emissions per transported container compared to 2020 levels, and 25% of its container volume being moved by green fuels by the same date.

“In 2021, we ordered the world’s first methanol-enabled container vessel following a commitment to the principle of only ordering newbuilt vessels that can sail on green fuels. Concurrently, we have explored the potential in retrofitting existing vessels with dual-fuel methanol engines. Having teamed up with MAN ES, we are now ready to demonstrate how retrofitting vessels with methanol dual-fuel capabilities can be done,” said Sonzio.