New research centre to support shipping’s decarbonisation goals

A group of heavyweight maritime organisations have today launched the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping (MCZCS) – a Denmark-based research centre which aims to explore new fuel types and technologies that will support shipping’s decarbonisation.

The founding partners behind the MCZCS  include: A.P. Moller – Maersk, which has made a start-up donation of DKK 400 million; ABS; Cargill; MAN Energy Solutions; Mitsubishi Heavy Industries; NYK Lines; and Siemens.

ABS said that the MCZCS will be an ‘independent’ centre working ‘across the entire shipping sector with industry, academia and authorities. Its aim will be to ‘create overviews of decarbonisation pathways, accelerate the development of selected decarbonising fuels and powering technologies, as well as support the establishment of regulatory, financial and commercial means to enable and drive the transformation’.

The MCZCS plans to recruit about 100 employees for the Copenhagen office over next two to three years. The founding partners have committed one third of the needed staff, the remaining two thirds will be recruited independently. In addition to leadership and administration, the centre staff will include subject matter experts in energy, fuels and ship technology as well as regulatory affairs, finance and the global energy transition.

Bo Cerup-Simonsen, CEO of the MCZCS, said: ‘This is the early days of a demanding and necessary transformation of an entire industry. Thanks to the A.P. Moller Foundation and the support from industry-leading partners we now have a unique opportunity to unfold the potential of a sector-wide collaboration towards complete decarbonization. The Center for Decarbonizing Shipping provides a solid platform for the entire eco-system to join forces, demonstrate new solutions and identify the next steps to make it happen. I’m excited to let the work begin, expanding the collaboration with a broad variety of contributors.’

Søren Skou, Maersk CEO and a future member of the centre’s board of directors, commented: ‘The founding partners and the A.P. Moller Foundation share a long-term ambition to decarbonise the shipping industry. The establishment of the centre is a quantum leap towards realising that ambition. This joint initiative will fast-track the maturation of solutions and strengthen the basis for decision making among industry players and regulators and hence accelerate investments and implementation of new technologies. I am looking forward to join the Board of this ambitious collaboration.’

ABS Chairman, President and CEO, Christopher J. Wiernicki, added: ‘Through our extensive research on low carbon strategies for shipping, we understand how decarbonization is a complex riddle of vessel technologies, fuels and operational optimization. ABS is proud to contribute to the work of the MCZCS, which will undoubtedly play a significant role in solving this riddle for the industry.’

Brian Østergaard Sørensen, Vice President and Head of R&D Two-Stroke Business at MAN Energy Solutions, emphasised how the new centre will help the industry pool resources and work together: ‘Decarbonisation will be one of the largest transitions that we will see within the maritime industry for years and requires a holistic approach looking at the complete supply chain from well to wake. No technology or company can do this alone which is why we need to join forces across the supply chain to meet this challenge.

‘We at MAN Energy Solutions have decarbonisation as part of our corporate strategy and developing sustainable technologies and solutions is at the core of what we do. While two-stroke engine technology will likely remain the prime mover for deep-sea shipping, cleaner fuels will play a larger role in the future. MAN Energy Solutions recognises that there are several pathways to achieving a carbon-neutral economy and that we need to work together, which is why we are happy to have joined the Center.’

Lesley Bankes-Hughes

Lesley Bankes-Hughes