Two shipping logistics companies – A.P. Moller - Maersk and Wallenius Wilhelmsen – have teamed up with Copenhagen University, BMW, H&M Group, Levi Strauss and Marks & Spencer to form the LEO Coalition – a cross-industry initiative set up to explore the potential of a new sustainable marine fuel made from lignin and ethanol.
Lignin is a structural bio-polymer that contributes to the rigidity of plants. It is the second most common polymer in earth’s biosphere (20-30%), and the primary sub-product of the paper industry and bio-refineries, which means it is often incinerated to produce steam and electricity.
“Our customers’ ambitions on sustainability are increasing rapidly, and we applaud this development,” says Craig Jasienski, Wallenius Wilhelmsen’s chief executive officer.
“Clearly, LEO will be a great step forward for supply chain sustainability, and it has real potential to be a truly viable solution for today’s fleet, and not just a hopeful vision of the future.”
Copenhagen University has already begun running the laboratory-scale development of the potential new marine fuel.
The LEO Coalition project will move into its second phase – testing the fuel on actual vessel engines – next summer.
If that proves successful, the LEO Coalition will begin phase III – the scaling up of LEO fuel production.