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Danish ports actively address neighbor concerns about risk with green fuels

Published: 19.03.24

The ports of Hanstholm and Frederikshavn are to become international role models for how to address and acknowledge neighbors' concerns when converting fishing and ferry vessels to CO2 neutral fuels. This is shown in a new report, which also concludes that the results can be incorporated worldwide.

When ferries, fishing boats and cargo ships are to be converted to climate-friendly fuels such as methanol, it requires both new technology, new ships, and new infrastructure. In a preliminary study, the Marco Polo innovation project has analyzed what the green transition will mean for commercial ports such as the ports of Hanstholm and Frederikshavn in Northern Jutland, Denmark.

- We have investigated the entire value chain from the offshore wind turbines to the use of the electricity in the production of methanol. The methanol can ultimately be used as a green fuel in fishing boats and ferries. We've quantified every step, and it has made us much wiser than we were before, says Jens Therkelsen, Business Consultant in Thisted Municipality and Port of Hanstholm.

The innovation project has investigated the potential of handling CO2 aimed for storage in the North Sea underground off the coast of Hanstholm.

Goodbye assumptions, hello facts

The Marco Polo project began in November 2022 and involves Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, Nordic Green Solutions, Port of Hanstholm, DBI – the Danish Institute of Fire and Security Technology, Aalborg University, Evida and Energy Cluster Denmark.

An important aspect of the project has been how to safely handle green fuels in the maritime sector, e.g. how to ship, produce or store methanol. To make this possible, the neighbors must also be on board with the idea.

– The public perception of the green transition is crucial for making things happen. That's why we have spent a lot of time on citizen involvement and interviews with neighbors to the ports, the ports' customers, and others who influence the development of port areas. We can see that people's perception of the actual conditions often builds on incomplete assumptions or rumors. We would like to counter that, so facts will be driving the green transition forward, says Anders Viborg Kristensen, Project Manager at DBI.

Need for demonstration projects

The Marco Polo project has received support from the Danish Board of Business Development and the REACT-EU programme. Energy Cluster Denmark has facilitated the project, which has now completed its first phase.

- The results from Marco Polo are good and point to the need for concrete demonstration projects following the preliminary study. If there are issues one wishes to solve through specific innovation projects, we are open to new collaborations, says Gitte Wad, Project Manager at Energy Cluster Denmark and Project Manager for Marco Polo.

She is supplemented by The Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, which also encourages everyone with an interest in the results from Marco Polo to get involved in potential innovation projects going forward.

- Together with the partners in Marco Polo, we have developed a roadmap for the green ports of the future, which can be reused by other ports in Denmark, in Europe or elsewhere in the world. It has been a pleasure for us as a center to be involved - and we are proud of the footprint that the project has made and will make going forward. Everyone can use the final report from the project as a guide in their own context – for the benefit of the green transformation of our ports, says Aleksandra Billeskov, Assistant Program Manager, The Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping.

Download the Marco Polo report here.

Read more

About the innovation project Marco Polo

The Marco Polo project was carried out to create knowledge and documentation for the safe handling of methanol in connection with storage and bunkering in ports, including both technical and attitudinal/behavioral aspects. As a smaller part of the project, DBI has also studied the handling of CO2 in and out of a port as part of 'carbon capture and storage' (CCS).'

Marco Polo has received support from Danish Board of Business Development of DKK 3.4 million from the REACT-EU program and began in November 2022. The project ended in August 2023, and the partner circle consisted of: Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, Nordic Green Solutions, Hanstholm Havn, DBI – the Danish Institute of Fire and Security Technology, Aalborg University, Evida and Energy Cluster Denmark.

Read more about the
Marco Polo project.


Anders V. Kristensen
Project Manager

+45 50 80 78 09