Maersk invests in fuel cell manufacturer

Maersk Growth, the venture capital arm of the Danish shipping company, is investing in the fuel cell manufacturer Blue World Technologies.

With the participation of Maersk Growth and the Export and Investment Fund of Denmark (EIFO) in a financing round, the company says it has taken “another step towards providing fuel cell solutions in the multi-megawatt range”. [ds_preview]

In addition to the venture arm of A.P. Moller – Maersk and Eifo, Cycle Group and other new and existing shareholders were also involved in the €11 million financing round. The financing round was announced during COP28 in Dubai, where Blue World Technologies presented its high-temperature PEM fuel cell technology as a solution to support the decarbonization of the maritime industry.

According to the company, Blue World’s methanol fuel cells enable efficient conversion of methanol into electricity with an electrical efficiency of up to 65%. In addition, the fuel cells offer the potential for internal waste heat recovery to optimize the methanol conversion process and additional energy recovery that can be used on board, improving the overall efficiency of the system.

Blue World’s patent-pending system architecture is said to enable a 20-30% reduction in fuel consumption “paving the way for a reduction in the environmental surcharge for bunkering e-fuels”. The system architecture of the fuel cell offers the possibility of capturing 100% of the CO₂ produced, with fuel consumption increasing by only 2 to 3%, which enables attractive recycling business models, it says.

With an industrial approach, Blue World Technologies has set up a fuel cell factory in Aalborg, Denmark, which will ensure in-house production of all key fuel cell components in addition to system development and production.

A.P. Moller – Maersk has set a target for its entire company, including its fleet of around 700 container ships, to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040. The company recently took delivery of its first green methanol-powered vessel, the “Laura Maersk”, and has ordered a further 24 vessels capable of running on green methanol for delivery in the coming years.

Maersk has already ordered its first system for testing

In addition to the venture investment in Blue World, Maersk has ordered a methanol fuel cell pilot system developed by Blue World as an auxiliary power system to be installed on one of the methanol-powered container ships Maersk has ordered. The system still has to be approved as a class by ABS.

“At Maersk, we see methanol fuel cells as an interesting and promising technology. With well over 100 methanol-powered ships on order across the industry, the demand for green fuel is increasing. The prospect that fuel cell technology can significantly improve the energy efficiency of these expensive green fuels could be an important component in closing the price gap with conventional bunker fuel and enabling the green transition in shipping,” says Ole Graa Jakobsen, Vice President, Fleet Technology at A.P. Moller – Maersk.

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