Maersk Commits to Large, Green Methanol Offtake Deal with China’s Goldwind

Maersk methanol containership
Maersk's first large methanol dual-fuel containership was floated by Hyundai in October (Maersk)

Published Nov 22, 2023 2:54 PM by The Maritime Executive


Maersk signed what the company is calling a milestone deal for the offtake of green methanol fuel from China for its fleet. It is the latest in a series of steps the carrier has taken over the past few years to build a global supply chain for green fuel as it prepares to launch its first class of methanol dual-fueled containerships and is exploring the conversion of existing ships to the fuel.

Maersk entered into a deal with China’s Goldwind, a company launched in 1998 focusing on wind power and expanding into a broader range of green energy. The companies are calling the deal which will provide Maersk with 500,000 metric tons of green methanol annually the “first large-scale green methanol offtake agreement for the global shipping industry.”

“We are encouraged by the agreement because its scale and price confirm our view that green methanol currently is the most viable low-emission solution for ocean shipping that can make a significant impact in this decade,” said Rabab Raafat Boulos, Chief Infrastructure Officer at A.P. Moller - Maersk. 

Both companies are positioning the deal as a landmark that further verifies the emerging role of green methanol as the leading alternative fuel for the shipping industry. Maersk introduced the first containership operating on methanol this fall and has 24 additional methanol vessels on order for delivery between 2024 and 2027. The company states it has a policy to only order new, owned vessels that come with a green fuel option. 

When the carrier ordered the first methanol ships, they said one of the biggest challenges would be building the supply chain to support the ship’s operations. The company now says the record-high volumes from this and other supply agreements can annually propel more than half the methanol-enabled capacity Maersk currently has on order.

HD Hyundai floated the first of Maersk’s large ocean-going methanol dual-fuel containerships on October 6 in South Korea. The vessels will be approximately 1,150 feet in length with a nearly 176-foot beam. The first vessels will have a capacity of 16,200 TEU.

The offtake agreement with Goldwind calls for volumes that will be a combined mix of green bio-methanol and e-methanol, all produced utilizing wind energy at a new production facility in Hinggan League, Northeast China. It is part of what Goldwind calls its “first world scale green chemical complex in Inner Mongolia.”

Goldwind is reported to be approaching a final investment decision for the facility which would be located more than 600 miles northeast of Beijing. Production is expected to begin in 2026. The company reports it will continue to explore the innovative application of new technologies, pursue the organic combination of green electricity and green fuel production, and optimize the production process of green methanol.

“Goldwind is committed to collaborating with companies involved in the green methanol industry, with the aim to make green methanol one of the most important and economically feasible clean maritime fuels in the future”, said Wu Gang, Chairman, Goldwind. 

Earlier this year, Goldwind highlighted that it achieved an important development milestone by exceeding 100 GW of global installed capacity. It became the first Chinese wind turbine manufacturer to reach this milestone.