CMA CGM joins French synthetic methane project to fuel its LNG-powered fleet

French shipping group CMA CGM has joined a hydrogen and synthetic methane project developed by Engie’s GRTgaz, as it looks to further reduce emissions from its fleet of LNG-powered containerships.

CMA CGM currently has 28 “e-methane ready” dual-fuel, LNG-powered containerships and will have at least 44 vessels of this type in service by the end of 2024.

The firm has last year joined forces with France’s Engie to work on the industrial-scale production and distribution of synthetic methane and bio-LNG.

It also partnered with three other firms to create a French bio-LNG production unit, while it introduced a new shipping offer for its clients based on biomethane.

Now the firm has joined the Jupiter 1000 industrial demonstrator project piloted by GRTgaz in Fos-sur-Mer, where the TotalEnergies-chartered LNG bunkering vessel Gas Vitality fuels CMA CGM’s containerships.

This “innovative” installation aims to produce green hydrogen from renewable power and also e-methane, a synthetic gas using this hydrogen and CO2 captured from the industrial process, CMA CGM said in a statement on Tuesday.

New fuel source for CMA CGM’s fleet

As part of the project, the first electrolyzer producing hydrogen from water and renewable power injected hydrogen into GRTgaz’s gas transmission network in February 2020.

A second electrolyzer, employing a different technology from the previous one, entered service at the beginning of November 2021.

Beyond producing hydrogen, Jupiter 1000 also recycles CO2 by converting it into synthetic gas.

The syngas produced can replace fossil fuel gas across all transport and distribution networks, CMA CGM said, adding that the hydrogen methanation facilities should go online in June 2022.

Through its participation in this project, CMA CGM aims to further accelerate the pace of its fleet’s transition to new “very low-carbon” fuel sources, it said.

“To help us meet our Net zero target by 2050, we are resolutely committed to searching for and industrializing innovative non-fossil fuel gas solutions, with biomethane and synthetic methane,” Christine Cabau Woehrel, CMA CGM’s executive VP in charge of industrial assets and operation, said.

“The Jupiter 1000 project will give us access to one of the first demonstrator projects of the kind. Moreover, it is located at Fos-sur-Mer, where we recently completed our first LNG bunkering operations,” Woehrel said.

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