Energy and transport clusters are working together to make the mission of green transport of the future a reality

3. March 2021

The Danish Innovation Fund has chosen the development of climate-neutral fuels as one of the four missions to focus on in spring 2021. Two of Denmark’s new national cluster organisations will work together to create an innovation roadmap aimed at developing the green fuels of the future.

Denmark has a goal of reducing the country’s carbon emissions by 70 per cent by 2030, and of becoming a fossil-free nation by 2050. The ambitious Danish climate goals are well-known, and we also know that it will take groundbreaking green solutions to achieve them.

The Danish Government’s research strategy has identified four specific research and innovation missions, each of which must succeed in order for the country to reach its goals.

One mission concerns supplying Danish industry, as well as the transport and maritime sectors, with renewable energy, a challenge which has been accepted by the respective cluster organisations Energy Cluster Denmark (representing the entire Danish energy sector) and MARLOG (representing Denmark’s maritime and logistics sectors).

‘The development that both the energy and transport sectors must undergo in order for us to reach our climate goals will require cross-sectoral collaboration,’ said Mikkel Navarro Hansen, CEO of MARLOG.

‘We are part of the same value chain, and we are mutually dependent on finding a solution for greener transport. That is why it is natural for us to form a common front,’ he added.

Creating partnerships and innovation

In order to realise such a big ambition through concrete technological development, innovation efforts must have enough space, a good framework and involve many different stakeholders. An overview and consensus on the key common goals for innovation and development is also necessary.

‘Working with the industrial sector, we need to identify the technological stepping stones in the field of energy that are necessary to realise the vision of the green transport of the future,’ said Glenda Napier, CEO of Energy Cluster Denmark.

‘We have to create the technological roadmap we need to follow to reach our goals, while also serving as a neutral platform on which innovation can occur. We need to function as a place where those who need and those who provide technological innovation can meet; where companies and knowledge institutions across value chains can work together to further technological development so that we can move as one from diesel in 2021 to PtX, biofuel and fuel cells in 2050,’ she added.

Industry involvement

The clusters’ invitations to collaborate on green transport is exactly what the energy and transport industries have been waiting for. Mads Bentzen Billesø, senior project manager of Innovation & Partnerships at DFDS A/S, is enthusiastic about the prioritisation of green fuels for transport and industry, and DFDS supports the development, ambitious initiatives and broad collaborations in the area.

‘Co-operation and partnerships are essential to ensure a safe and rapid transition to large-scale adoption of environmentally friendly, alternative and renewable fuel types in the transport sector – not least collaboration and co-ordination between energy suppliers and customers,’ he said.

Great potential

The initiative is sorely needed. The transport sector accounts for 28 per cent of Denmark’s greenhouse gas emissions, and Danish and Danish-controlled ships emit approximately 53 million tonnes of greenhouse gases, which is roughly as much as Denmark’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

‘There is huge potential in collaborating on the transition we need to undergo,’ said Hansen.

‘The maritime industry and the sector for transport and logistics is crying out for competitive climate solutions to reach the reduction targets. That’s why the collaboration between the energy and transport sectors can ensure and contribute to Danish companies becoming among the most sustainable in the world,’ he added.

This demand for climate solutions is perfectly matched by energy technology players in an energy sector that needs to find buyers for new, climate-friendly solutions in the transport sector.

‘We have a Danish energy sector that has already cracked several codes and is highly capable of developing new and global energy tech solutions. Moreover, there is great global market potential in developing solutions that can make the transport sector sustainable,’ said Napier.

In the coming months, MARLOG and Energy Cluster Denmark will invite all relevant partners in the field to a joint dialogue. A number of companies and the Danish Association of Research and Technology Organisations have already expressed support for the two cluster organisations’ initiative.