Europe’s largest e-methanol plant to supply ships with green fuel

The groundbreaking ceremony took place in Örnsköldsvik, with Anders Nordstrøm centre (Ørsted)
Danish energy company Ørsted broke ground yesterday on Europe’s largest e-methanol plant in northern Sweden.

The “FlagshipOne” project in Örnsköldsvik was originally developed by the Swedish e-fuels company Liquid Wind.

Ørsted believes e-methanol will replace diesel as a fuel for shipping. It is methanol made sustainably by combining carbon dioxide captured in the burning of wood or other biomass with hydrogen separated from water by electrolysis powered by wind or solar.

Liquid Wind chief executive Claes Fredriksson has said using it could help shippers cut carbon emissions by 94%.

Speaking at the ceremony, Anders Nordstrøm, the chief operating officer of Ørsted P2X, said the plant would “open a new era for green shipping” and would be the first project in “a new green industry in Sweden, which Ørsted intends to spearhead”.

When complete in 2025, the plant will supply 50,000 tonnes of e-methanol a year to what Ørsted believes will be a constantly growing fleet of methanol-powered vessels. Currently, more than 110 e-methanol-powered vessels have been ordered or are in operation, compared with 80 vessels at the end of 2022.

Siemens Energy will supply the electrolysers and control systems. Carbon Clean will deliver the carbon capture equipment.

Global shipping accounts for around 3% of global carbon emissions, and Ørsted thinks e-methanol will be carriers’ preferred route to zero emissions in the 2020s.

Sweden is in a good position to supply it because it has ample on- and offshore wind potential and a big forestry industry to supply the biogenic carbon needed.

As well as the Swedish site, Ørsted is developing the 300,000 tonnes a year “Project Star” on the US Gulf Coast and the “Green Fuels for Denmark” project in Copenhagen, which will also produce significant volumes of e-methanol to enable the decarbonisation of shipping.

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