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Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition partners with Maersk in world’s largest maritime biofuel pilot; Triple-E container ship

A group of Dutch multinationals—FrieslandCampina, Heineken, Philips, DSM, Shell and Unilever—all members of the Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition (DSGC), will partner with A.P. Moller - Maersk to take a tangible step towards the decarbonization of ocean shipping.

A pilot project will test the use of up to 20% sustainable second-generation biofuels on a Triple-E ocean vessel. The Maersk Triple E-class container ships are very large container ships of more than 18,000 TEU. Maersk says that Triple E stands for Economy of scale, Energy efficiency and Environmentally improved.


First-generation Triple-E ship. Maersk is now introducing second-generation Triple-E ships.

The vessel will sail 25,000 nautical miles from Rotterdam to Shanghai and back on biofuel blends alone—a world’s first at this scale—saving 1,5 million kilograms CO2 and 20,000 kilograms of sulfur.

DSGC members and Maersk all agree that tackling harmful emissions related to shipping is urgently needed, and that cross-industry collaboration is required to develop, test and implement new solutions. The DSGC members, many of which are customers to Maersk, played a critical role. They initiated and sponsor the pilot. Shell, acts as the fuel supplier for the pilot, and Maersk plays the role as operating partner.

The biofuel used in this pilot is a second-generation biofuel, produced from waste sources—in this case used cooking oil (UCOME oil). This biofuel is ISCC Certified, meaning that the whole chain is third-party certified.  The power of biofuel is that it can to a certain extent replace / blended with conventional (fossil) fuels, without having to make big technical adaptations to the engines or require a complete new engine etc.

Sustainably sourced second-generation biofuels are just one possible solution for the decarbonization of ocean shipping. Longer term, breakthroughs in fuel and technical development (i.e. e-fuels) and the investment into commercial supply chains are needed to achieve significant emissions reductions.

DSGC companies join in action to contribute to the UN SDGs. With this initiative we focus on Climate Action (SDG 13). We have taken the initiative to partner with A.P. Moller - Maersk on this important effort. This pilot testing biofuel on a cross ocean shipping lane, marks an important step. However, many more innovations are urgently needed. These can only be successfully developed, tested and implemented in industry collaborations like this.

—Jan Peter Balkenende, Chair of the DSGC

Shipping accounts for 90% of transported goods and 3% of total global CO2-emissions, and is set to rise to 15% by 2050 if left unchecked. The CO2 savings of this journey alone equates to the annual CO2 emitted by over 200 households in a year or 12 million kilometers traveled in an average car. The voyage will take place between March and June 2019.


The biofuel used in this pilot is a second-generation biofuel, produced from waste sources—in this case used cooking oil (UCOME oil).

That's "used cooking oil methyl ester", aka homebrew biodiesel.

Longer term, breakthroughs in fuel and technical development (i.e. e-fuels)

Converting (a) electricity to (b) a chemical fuel to be (c) loaded onto a ship (displacing cargo) and (d) burned in a combustion engine... when are these people going to figure out that nuclear power gets rid of so many intermediate steps as well as all the emissions?

Probably never.  Radiophobia reigns supreme.


Another alternative would be to convert solar and wind e-energy to liquid fuels (close to all major sea ports) and use large multi-fuel FCs for electrified future ships?

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