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Maersk Invests in Stateside Bio-Methanol Production

Three weeks after announcing an e-methanol sourcing agreement in Europe, A.P. Moller–Maersk is investing in California-based WasteFuel, a start-up focused on turning waste into sustainable aviation fuel, green bio-methanol and renewable natural gas.

Maersk’s investment–made through Maersk Growth, its corporate venture arm–will enable WasteFuel to develop biorefineries that utilize the most effective technologies available to produce sustainable fuels from unrecoverable waste that would otherwise degrade and release methane and other harmful emissions into the atmosphere. Maersk did not divulge the amount of the investment, but said that Morten Bo Christiansen, its vice president and head of decarbonization, is joining the WasteFuel board.

Maersk said it is 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. For each feedstock and project, the company evaluates its sustainability, as well as the emission reductions using lifecycle analysis, including all greenhouse gases.

“We know that sourcing an adequate amount of green fuel for our methanol fueled vessels will be very challenging, as it requires a significant production ramp up globally,” Christiansen said. “Collaboration and partnerships are key to scaling the production and distribution of sustainable fuels, and we look forward to doing exactly that with WasteFuel–exploring potential future green solutions not just for our vessels, but also for Maersk aviation and trucking activities.”

WasteFuel is also developing projects in Asia and the Americas, including a biorefinery in Manila, Philippines, to produce low-carbon fuels. The company has announced an agreement with NetJets–the world’s largest private jet company owned by Berkshire Hathaway.

“WasteFuel was launched to solve two problems–the waste crisis that affects millions of peoples’ lives globally and the growing demand for low-carbon fuels that can reduce overall emissions,” Trevor Neilson, co-founder, chairman and CEO of WasteFuel, said. “We’re proud to have partnered with Maersk to usher in an era of more environmentally conscious sea transport. Our goal is for WasteFuel to reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by 90 Percent compared to fossil fuels.”

Maersk said global supply chains can and must be decarbonized by 2050, and collaboration and investments in innovative projects are among the most important ways to reach a carbon neutral fuel value chain.