A.P. Moller – Maersk will operate the world’s first carbon neutral liner vessel by 2023 – seven years ahead of schedule

Maersk will operate the world’s first carbon neutral liner vessel by 2023 – seven years ahead of schedule
A.P. Moller – Maersk speeds up on decarbonisation with a methanol-fueled feeder vessel on the water in 2023, piloting a scalable carbon neutral product to customers and offering fuel suppliers incentive to scale production of the fuels of the future.

Copenhagen, Denmark – Fast-tracked by advances in technology and increasing customer demand for sustainable supply chains, A.P. Moller – Maersk accelerates the efforts to decarbonise marine operations with the launch of the world’s first carbon neutral liner vessel in 2023 – seven years ahead of the initial 2030-ambition. All future Maersk owned new buildings will have dual fuel technology installed, enabling either carbon neutral operations or operation on standard very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO).

“A.P. Moller – Maersk’s ambition is to lead the way in decarbonising global logistics. Our customers expect us to help them decarbonise their global supply chains, and we are embracing the challenge, working on solving the practical, technical and safety challenges inherent in the carbon neutral fuels we need in the future. Our ambition to have a carbon neutral fleet by 2050 was a moonshot when we announced in 2018. Today we see it as a challenging, yet achievable target to reach,” says Søren Skou, CEO, A.P. Moller – Maersk.

Read the full press release here.

How can storing heat help to decarbonise energy systems?

Decarbonising heat is key to achieving net zero. Innovators from the Birmingham Centre for Energy Storage are playing a vital role.

Reducing carbon dioxide emissions is, undoubtedly, the key element in our global drive to tackle climate change. The popular imagination is captured by a vision of polluting petrol and diesel vehicles yielding to a utopian vision of electric vehicles propelling us into a cleaner future. Power-hungry factories, offices and homes will be fed a lean-burn diet of electricity generated from renewable and low-carbon sources, such as solar and wind.

As important as electricity is, it only provides part of the overall energy demand within a country. Other energy vectors such as liquid fuels and natural gas typically provide greater amounts of delivered energy (see Figure 1). There is a significant contribution from transportation fuels and an even bigger demand associated with heat, which accounts for some 51% of global energy use.

Figure 1 – Gas, liquid fuels and electricity daily demand for Great Britain.

BCES’ collaboration with Jinhe Energy has already led to a world-first commercial plant, in Xinjiang, which harnesses wind power for heating. Funded by UK EPSRC and the Natural Science Foundation of China, the project has taken wind power that would otherwise have been wasted and converted it into heat. This thermal energy is then stored in cPCM materials and used for space heating on a commercial scale.

Read the full article here.

UK hills could be used as energy ‘batteries’

Engineers explore using gentle slopes rather than steep dams or mountains to store electricity.

Dovedale National Nature Reserve in the Peak District, Derbyshire, England.
Scenic beauty spot or potential hydropower storage facility? The Dovedale national nature reserve in the Peak District. Photograph: dianajarvisphotography.co.uk/Alamy

Hundreds of hills across the UK could be transformed into renewable energy “batteries” through a pioneering hydropower system embedded underground.

A team of engineers have developed a system that adapts one of the oldest forms of energy storage, hydropower, to store and release electricity from gentle slopes rather than requiring steep dam walls and mountains.

This could unlock hundreds of potential hydropower sites across the UK, which would be quicker and cheaper to build than traditional hydropower dams and also lead to fewer negative environmental impacts. Read the full article here.

Australia’s proposed gas pipelines would generate emissions equivalent to 33 coal-fired power plants

Report warns if $56bn worth of developments go ahead, it could threaten the goals of the Paris climate deal and lead to billions of dollars in stranded assets

A report has found that if the gas pipelines that Australia has in development go ahead it had the potential to allow nearly 5bn tonnes of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. Photograph: Jens Buettner/AP

Australia has $56bn worth of gas pipelines in development that, if all built, would be expected to allow pumping of greenhouse gases equivalent to 33 coal-fired power stations, an analysis has found.

The report by the Global Energy Monitor, an anti-fossil fuel research group based in San Francisco, said there are more than US$1tn ($1.3tn) in oil and gas pipeline projects on the books globally.

Read the full article here.

Britain’s electricity use is at its lowest for decades – but will never be this low again by the CONVERSATION

In 2020, Britain’s electrical use was the lowest it had been since 1983. This wasn’t entirely due to COVID – demand for electricity had been falling for more than a decade anyway, thanks to savings from energy-efficient appliances, moving industry offshore and consumers becoming more careful as costs increased.

But demand will bounce back after COVID. And the electrification of transport and heat, both critical to achieving net-zero emissions, will require lots more electricity in future.

We have looked at the data for electricity use in Great Britain (Northern Ireland is part of a single market on the island of Ireland) over the past year and we believe that there will never again be a year when so little electricity is used.

Britain daily electrical demand 2019 versus 2020
Read the full article here.

UK Policy paper by BEIS: Research and Development Roadmap

The government’s Research and Development (R&D) Roadmap sets out the UK’s vision and ambition for science, research and innovation.

The government’s long-term objectives for research and development (R&D) are clear: to be a science superpower and invest in the science and research that will deliver economic growth and societal benefits across the UK for decades to come, and to build the foundations for the new industries of tomorrow. This was supported by the unprecedented commitment at the Budget to increase public investment in R&D to £22 billion by 2024 to 2025.

The Roadmap marks the start of a conversation to identify:

  • the strengths and challenges facing the sector
  • the issues that need to be addressed
  • how we want to work with universities, business, the third sector and across government to cement the UK’s reputation as a science superpower

R&D will be critical to a swift economic and social recovery from the impacts of COVID-19, for a greener, healthier and more resilient UK. Our goal is to further strengthen science, research and innovation across the UK, making them central to tackling the major challenges we face, including achieving net zero carbon emissions, building resilience to the impacts of climate change, closing the productivity gap and embracing the transformative potential of new technologies to improve the quality of life.

The roadmap is available here.

Nissan, E.ON Drive and Imperial College highlight the carbon saving and economic benefits of Vehicle-to-Grid technology

  • Vehicle-to-Grid technology can help deliver overall power system cost savings of up to £885m per year
  • Adopting this two-way charging technology will accelerate progress in decarbonising the UK’s power system
  • The Nissan LEAF and e-NV200 are the only volume manufactured V2G-capable electric vehicles in the UK

A White Paper published last week- the result of a major collaboration involving carmaker Nissan, E.ON Drive and Imperial College London – explores how the bi-directional charging capability of electric vehicles (EVs) could contribute to lower emissions and help achieve long-term goals in relation to climate change.

The White Paper offers supporting recommendations and calls for the introduction of incentives to accelerate widespread adoption of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging systems, enabling potential benefits to be unlocked.

It also addresses some of the challenges that will be faced in the early days of V2G, particularly around creating a reliable business case in the context of evolving energy markets and regulation.

Publication of the White Paper follows news in August of the first large-scale V2G trial involving 20 chargers installed at Nissan’s European Technical Centre in Cranfield.

Key insights:

The White Paper indicates that V2G could deliver the following benefits:

  • The potential for reducing carbon emissions from the power system to as low as -243gCO2/km.
  • Electricity system operation cost savings of up to £12,000 per annum per EV and CO2 reduction of approximately 60 tonnes per annuam per EV.
  • Annual fleet V2G charging benefits could range between £700-£1,250 per vehicle.

Professor Goran Strbac, Chair in Electrical Energy Systems at Imperial College London said: “Our research has demonstrated that V2G can provide very substantial economic benefits to the power system as well as reduce carbon emissions. This revealed that the additional flexibility provided by V2G fleets can considerably improve system efficiency and reduce investment in new low-carbon generation, while meeting national decarbonisation targets”.

For more information about how businesses with fleets can get involved with V2G, visit www.eonenergy.com/v2g

Read the full article here.

Climate crisis: 2020 was joint hottest year ever recorded

Global heating continued unabated despite Covid lockdowns, with record Arctic wildfires and Atlantic tropical storms

Map showing land surface temperature anomalies from 19 March to 20 June 2020
The Arctic and northern Siberia saw particularly extreme average temperatures in 2020, with a large region 3C higher than the long-term average. Photograph: Nasa/EPA

The climate crisis continued unabated in 2020, with the the joint highest global temperatures on record, alarming heat and record wildfires in the Arctic, and a record 29 tropical storms in the Atlantic.

Despite a 7% fall in fossil fuel burning due to coronavirus lockdowns, heat-trapping carbon dioxide continued to build up in the atmosphere, also setting a new record. The average surface temperature across the planet in 2020 was 1.25C higher than in the pre-industrial period of 1850-1900, dangerously close to the 1.5C target set by the world’s nations to avoid the worst impacts.

Read the full article here.

Energy white paper by BEIS: Powering our net zero future

The energy white paper bysetting out how the UK will clean up its energy system and reach net zero emissions by 2050.

The energy white paper builds on the Prime Minister’s Ten point plan for a green industrial revolution.

The white paper addresses the transformation of our energy system, promoting high-skilled jobs and clean, resilient economic growth as we deliver net-zero emissions by 2050 and is available for downloading here.

Review of Energy Policy 2020 by UKERC

The UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) launched its Review of Energy Policy, looking at the effects of COVID19 on the energy system and how the unprecedented events of 2020 might impact energy use and climate policy in the future. Focusing on electricity demand, transport, green jobs and skills, Brexit, heat, and societal engagement, the Review reflects on the past year and looks forward, highlighting key priorities for the Government.

Key recommendations


The scale of investment in the power system required over the coming decade is huge. A big challenge is market design. We need a market that can incentivise investment in low carbon power and networks at least cost whilst also providing incentives for flexibility. Output from wind and solar farms will sometimes exceed demand and other times fall to low levels. The right mix of flexible resources must be established to deal with variable output from renewables, with the right market signals and interventions in place to do this at least cost.


The end of the sale of fossil fuel cars and vans by 2030 must be greeted with enthusiasm. Yet if this is to play its part in a Paris-compliant pathway to zero emissions, it must be one of many policy changes to decarbonise UK transport. Earlier action is paramount, and we recommend a market transformation approach targeting the highest emitting vehicles now, not just from 2030. Phasing-in of the phase-out will save millions of tons of CO2 thus reducing the need for radical action later on. The forthcoming Transport Decarbonisation Plan has a lot to deliver.

Green jobs and skills

COVID-19 recovery packages offer the potential to combine job creation with emissions reduction. A national housing retrofit programme would be a triple win, creating jobs, reducing carbon emissions and make our homes more comfortable and affordable to heat. However, UKERC research finds that there are significant skills gaps associated with energy efficient buildings and low carbon heat. UKERC calls for a national programme of retraining and reskilling that takes advantage of the COVID downturn to re-equip building service professions with the skills needed for net zero.


As the UK leaves the EU on the 1st January it will lose many of the advantages of integration. With new regimes for carbon pricing, trading, and interconnection yet to be agreed, there will be a high degree of uncertainty in the near to medium term. Given upward pressure on energy costs, delays to policy, and this uncertainty surrounding new rules, the overall effects of Brexit are not positive for UK energy decarbonisation.


UKERC research calls for action on heat to deliver the net zero technologies that we know work – insulating buildings and rolling out proven options. We need to end delay or speculation about less-proven options. Analysis is consistent with recent advice from the CCC that heat policy should focus on electrification whilst exploring options for hydrogen. We need to break the pattern of ad hoc and disjointed policy measures for heat and buildings, and develop a coherent, long-term strategy. This would be best achieved as an integral part of local and regional energy plans, involving local governments as coordinating agents. The aspirations for heat can’t be realised unless we also take action on the skills gap.

Societal engagement with energy

Achieving net zero in 2050 will entail significant changes to the way we live, what we eat and how we heat our homes. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that when faced with a threat, society can change rapidly. Engaging society with the net zero transition also needs to change, it needs to be to be more ambitious, diverse, joined-up and system-wide, and recognise the many different ways that citizens engage with these issues on an ongoing basis.

The report is available to download here.