The group said in a statement that it signed in February a memorandum of understanding with Progression Industry - a spin-off company of Eindhoven University of Technology - to develop a viable marine fuel from lignin, a complex organic polymer found in plants.
Maersk, which has an annual fuel bill of $7bn for vessel operations, will buy 50,000 tonnes of this fuel if Progression can produce a lignin-based fuel that meets Maersk's criteria.
"For the past 75 years, the shipping companies have used oil, but looking at the next 75 years this is likely to change," Jacob Sterling, head of Environment and CSR in Maersk Line, said in the statement.
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