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CMA CGM, Engie to Decarbonize Shipping

CMA CGM Group, one of the world’s largest shipping and logistics companies, and Engie, which provides renewables and energy solutions, have committed to working together to advance the sector’s energy transition by championing industrial-scale production and distribution of synthetic methane and liquefied biomethane (BioLNG).

CMA CGM and ENGIE have established the long-term strategic and industrial cooperation to focus on production of decarbonized fuels. The partnership aims to support development of a synthetic methane production and distribution industry that can be used by the shipping sector.

An initial project to produce BioLNG for shipping has already been launched by both groups at the Port of Marseille, in partnership with Métropole Aix-Marseille-Provence and Total Energies. ENGIE is leading further synthetic methane production industrial projects in which CMA CGM will be able to invest, including through multi-year purchase commitments. These projects will harness various technologies, such as pyro-gasification or methanation using green hydrogen and captured CO2.

The partnership between CMA CGM and Engie will facilitate sharing of both groups’ knowledge and research and development, notably in key technologies such as carbon capture and green hydrogen production. The partnership also covers the analysis of future regulations, as well as efforts to raise awareness of the benefits of BioLNG and synthetic methane for the decarbonization of the shipping industry.

A non-fossil fuel energy source and a substantive commitment to the energy transition in shipping liquefied natural gas (LNG) can reduce sulfur oxide emissions by 99 percent, fine particle emissions by 91 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by 92 percent, Engie said. The CMA CGM Group currently accounts for 20 “e-methane ready” vessels equipped with dual-fuel engines and running on LNG and will have 44 “e-methane” vessels by year-end 2024.

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This decision helped to cut the CMA CGM Group’s carbon emissions by 4 percent in 2020, following a 6 percent reduction in 2019.

The dual-fuel gas-power technology developed by CMA CGM and currently using LNG is already capable of using BioLNG and synthetic methane. According to Engie, biomethane can reduce greenhouse gas emissions 67 percent compared to VLSFO, or very low sulfur fuel oil.

In addition, CMA CGM Group and Engie have been working together for several months as part of a coalition for the energy of the future launched in late 2019 at the Assises de l’Économie de la Mer conference by Rodolphe Saadé and supported by French President Emmanuel Macron. They continue to collaborate within the coalition to drive the development of energy sources and technologies, to support new models of sustainable mobility, and to reduce the shipping and logistics industry’s climate impact.

In September, Maersk said it was investing in California-based WasteFuel, a startup focused on turning waste into sustainable aviation fuel, green bio-methanol and renewable natural gas, following an e-methanol sourcing agreement in Europe.

Maersk’s investment will enable WasteFuel to develop biorefineries to produce sustainable fuels from unrecoverable waste that would otherwise degrade and release methane and other harmful emissions into the atmosphere. Maersk said it was confident that green bio-methanol is one of the promising fuels of the future as it can be scaled up and play an important role in decarbonizing supply chains within the next 10 to 15 years.