In his day, Marco Polo helped to explore new markets for Europe. It is therefore no coincidence that a new EU-funded project has been given the same name as the Italian explorer.
In Marco Polo – METHANOL Availability Readiness Cost Operationality for Port Logistics – the ports of Hanstholm and Frederikshavn are the starting point for a study of how Danish ports can play a key role in the work to reduce global CO2 emissions in the future. So says Johan Byskov Svendsen, Program Manager at the Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping.
“In the project, we will work with the conversion of ferry services and fishing as well as the handling of CO2 – here based on North Jutland, where the seeds have been laid for something that can be scaled up to the rest of the world”, says Johan Byskov Svendsen.
The Marco Polo partners will, among other things, look at business models for the use of green methanol on actual ferry routes and in fisheries, and at safety and regulatory requirements for handling green fuels at ports. The Danish Institute of Fire and Security Technology is responsible for the last part.
“For example, we will conduct a number of qualitative interviews with key players around the two ports to identify potential conflicts in establishing methanol plants locally. Our experience is that you need to be at the forefront of the green transition, so you nip potential concerns in the bud,” says Anders Viborg Kristensen, project manager at the Danish Institute of Fire and Security Technology.
According to the Port of Hanstholm, the end goal of Marco Polo is especially a study that can be used in the dialogue with future investors.
“We want to create business for the Port of Hanstholm, while at the same time converting our fleet to green fuels for the benefit of the climate. The project can help prepare us for the future when new plants are to be established at the port within Power-to-X and for handling CO2, which can be shipped to storage offshore warehouses, among other things,” says Jens Therkelsen, business consultant in Thisted Municipality and representative of the Port of Hanstholm in the Marco Polo project, which has a local starting point but an international perspective.
“We believe that Denmark can make a difference globally when it comes to green fuels. In short, it is about turning our ports into green petrol stations so that we decarbonise our fisheries and our ferries. Now we are looking at it nationally – and it will happen all over the world over time,” says Johan Byskov Svendsen.
The project is supported by the Danish Business Promotion Board with DKK 3.4 million from the REACT-EU programme and runs until August 2023. The partner group consists of: Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, Nordic Green Solutions, Port of Hanstholm, Danish Institute of Fire and Security Technology, Aalborg University, Evida and Energy Cluster Denmark, which facilitates the project.