Innovation That Matters

LEO fuel is better for the environment than fossil fuels | Photo source Chris Pagan on Unsplash

Alternative and sustainable fuel to power global shipping fleets

Mobility & Transport

Maersk is developing a blend of lignin and ethanol as an alternative, eco-friendly fuel, aiming to cut emissions in half by 2050

Spotted: Danish shipping giant Maersk is testing a sustainable, alternative fuel as part of its pledge to cut emissions. The fuel, known as LEO, is made from lignin and is better for the environment than traditional fossil fuels.

Maersk has partnered with the University of Copenhagen and several other companies to develop LEO. Scientists are working to produce a specific blend of lignin and ethanol that can be used in and mass-produced for the shipping industry. 

Lignin is found in the natural environment —it helps to give plants their rigidity and turns newsprint yellow with age. It is usually removed in order to create higher-quality paper and can be burned to create steam and electricity.

Currently, the fuel is still mid-development, but the aim is to test it in ships in the second quarter of 2020. The project is supported by Maersk and several companies, including Wallenius Wilhelmsen, BMW Group, H&M Group, Levi Strauss & Co. and Marks & Spencer.




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