1 year
Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping
Status: Ongoing

Accelerating deployment of low-LCI Biomethane in shipping

Published — August 29, 2022

Biogenic residue serves as feedstock for biogas, which offers an attractive source of biomethane and biogenic CO2 for the manufacturing of biofuels. Moreover, by repurposing this residue methane emissions, from mismanaged waste, are mitigated, making it an attractive process for gaining carbon credits. However, currently there are also several challenges to this supply chain making it difficult to implement biogas as a fuel source in the maritime industry. This project addresses these issues via different areas of study and aims to develop a strategy which assures acceleration of deployment in order to support the industry.

Project Objective

The aim of this project is to assess whether biomethane has the potential to contribute significantly to decarbonization in the maritime industry from an early stage, and what strategy is needed to realize this potential.

Biogas is an utmost attractive resource of biomethane and biogenic CO2, which are keystones molecules for biofuels manufacturing. Biogenic residue serves as feedstock, which is abundant and deleterious to the environment if mismanaged. Processing of such feedstocks into biofuels is based upon anaerobic digestion and syntheses, which are well-established technologies. Processing waste in an anaerobic digestor may afford carbon credits, due to the avoidance of methane emissions caused by spontaneous methanogenesis of mismanaged waste. Anaerobic digestion further generates digestate, a natural fertilizer that replaces synthetic fertilizers and has commercial and environmental value.

There are however also challenges: the global availability of biomass is disputed, plant capacities tend to be small and do not lend themselves to a good economy of scale, methane fugitive emissions can plague the supply chain, and this questions the effective GHG emission intensity of the resulting biofuels. Finally, for biogas to become a significant source of fuels for shipping and other off takers, the industry must grow immensely and very rapidly, and it is unclear how to promote and support this required growth.

This project addresses these issues via five areas of study:

  • Consolidate global biomass availability figures;
  • Establish cost of production for biomethane and biomethanol from biogenic residues via anaerobic digestion. The study addresses also the dependency of production cost upon production capacity, which is believed to be different for the two products;
  • Establish production and consumption figures and fugitive emissions to generate an LCA of the supply chains;
  • Map relevant ports and match with availability of biogenic residues and gas grid to identify potential for new production lines;
  • Develop a strategy for accelerating the implementation of the most promising pathways.

By the completion of this project, the aim is to have published several position papers, update NavigaTE and to lay out a strategy on how to ensure acceleration of deployment.

Project Milestones

February 2022

Project kick-off

Q3 2022

Publication of Position Paper: Global availability of biomass

Q4 2022

Publication of Position Paper: LCA

Q4 2022

Implementation into NavigaTE

Q4 2022

Publication of Position Paper: Technoeconomic assessment

Q4 2022

Publication of Position Paper: Local availability and potential for expansion

From Q4 2022

Layout of strategy to ensure availability of biomethane of shipping

Point of contact

Roberta Cenni

Head of Biofuels