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A group of leading industry players are taking the next step to develop new fuel types and technologies by launching the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping. The founding company partners behind this initiative are ABS, AP Moller – Maersk, Cargill, MAN Energy Solutions, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, NYK Lines and Siemens. It will be based in Copenhagen and is made possible by a start-up donation of DKK400m by the AP Moller Foundation.

The Center will be a non-profit organisation, set up as a commercial foundation with a charitable purpose. As an independent research centre, it will work across the entire shipping sector with industry, academia and authorities. A highly specialised, cross-disciplinary team will collaborate globally to create overviews of decarbonisation pathways, accelerate the development of selected decarbonising fuels and powering technologies, and support the establishment of regulatory, financial and commercial means to enable transformation.

The founding partners bring a common commitment to decarbonising shipping as well as unique and highly specialised knowledge and research capabilities. Furthermore, they will donate funds, expert people resources and testing platforms to support the operations. The center expects to attract several more partners in the future.

During the first two to three years the Center will recruit around 100 employees to the Copenhagen-based office and collaborate with new partners across the globe. 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 center staff will include subject matter experts in energy, fuels and ship technology as well as regulatory affairs, finance and the global energy transition.

To define the strategic direction of the Center, a Board of Directors is being established. It will also have a management board, which will be headed by Bo Cerup-Simonsen as CEO. Cerup-Simonsen holds a PhD from the Technical University of Denmark in Mechanical Engineering, Naval Architecture and has a proven track record in leadership of large-scale industry projects, maritime technology, research and innovation.

Cerup-Simonsen said: “These are the early days of a demanding and necessary transformation of an entire industry. Thanks to the AP 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 decarbonisation. The Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Center for Zero Carbon 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 Center’s board of directors, said: “The founding partners and the AP Moller Foundation share a long-term ambition to decarbonise the shipping industry. The establishment of the Center 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.”

Dr Uwe Lauber, CEO of MAN Energy Solutions, said, “Joining this partnership makes perfect sense for us as our business strategy is already significantly underpinned by system technologies that are leading our customers to a decarbonised future. We welcome the opportunity to work with industry partners in achieving this strategy and have publicly spoken in favour of a ‘maritime energy transition’ for some time now, which draws on the increased use of low-emission fuels. The concrete targets set for carbon neutrality and the first zero-emission vessel are bold but will undoubtedly hasten their respective developments, in which we are very happy to play our part.”

Brian Østergaard Sørensen, Vice President and Head of R&D Two-Stroke Business at MAN Energy Solutions, said, “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.”

“Through our extensive research on low carbon strategies for shipping, we understand how decarbonisation 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,” said ABS Chairman, President and CEO, Christopher J Wiernicki.