Maersk invests in a Dutch start-up focused on developing liquid lignin technology to be used as a marine fuel

Maersk has announced it entered into a three-year global end-to-end logistics partnership with Danish Crown starting from October 2021.

Maersk Growth, the corporate venture arm of A.P. Moller – Maersk, has announced its investment in Vertoro, a Dutch start-up focused on developing liquid lignin technology which can be used as a marine fuel. The minority investment supports Maersk’s work to decarbonise marine operations, as it foresees several fuel types to co-exist in the future, with four potential fuel pathways to decarbonisation: biodiesel, alcohols, ammonia, and lignin-enhanced alcohols.

Founded in 2017 and based on the Brightlands Chemelot Campus (Geleen, Netherlands), Vertoro produces Goldilocks from sustainably-sourced forestry and agricultural residues by a patented thermochemical process. Like fossil oil, Goldilocks can be used as a platform for fuel, chemical and material applications. It is already sold into markets including the one of antioxidants and marine fuel.   

Maersk’s investment will be used to further develop and commercialise Vertoro’s patented liquid lignin technology. Lignin is a class of complex organic polymers which form key structural materials in the support tissues of most plants. The investment will also enable Vertoro to build a demo plant, to become operational in 2022. The output of this plant will be used to develop marine fuels in partnership with Maersk as well as other applications for the materials and chemicals markets.

Peter Votkjaer Jorgensen Partner at Maersk Growth commented: “Lignin fuels have a promising potential when it comes to decarbonising shipping. We believe that we can offer value also through the expertise and scale of the broader Maersk organisation.”

Michael Boot, Co-founder & CEO at Vertoro added: “Our goal is to offer competitive, sustainable products to cost and environmentally conscious customers worldwide. This investment will bring us closer to reaching this goal.”

The investment in Vertoro is the third investment in the fuels of the future from Maersk Growth in less than two months. In September, Maersk Growth invested in WasteFuel, a start-up focused on turning waste into sustainable aviation fuel, green bio-methanol, and renewable natural gas. Later followed the investment in Prometheus which is developing a direct air capture-technology to enable cost-efficient, carbon-neutral electro fuels. These investments are part of the A.P. Moller – Maersk journey to become carbon neutral by 2050. The company also recently announced a total of nine vessels capable of running on green methanol.

Source: Maersk

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