Following extensive investment into greater vessel efficiency, the company is now looking into alternative fuel sources through two major projects. They focus on realizing the marine fuel potential of one of the world's most abundant and sustainable biomass resources: lignin, a complex organic polymer found in plants. The more lignin there is in wood the sturdier and stronger it is and the more efficiently it burns. But lignin is also released in large quantities as a residue during the production process of paper as well as advanced bio-ethanol.
"Lignin has a variety of industrial uses already because of its chemical characteristics, energy content and its abundance; yet its potential as a marine diesel fuel is a relatively uncharted area," says Peter Normark Sorensen, with Maersk Oil Trading, the Maersk Group's oil buying arm.
In February, Maersk signed a memorandum of understanding with Progression Industry"”a spin-off company of Eindhoven University of Technology"”to develop a viable marine fuel from lignin that meets stringent parameters on price, technical performance, sustainability and emissions.
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