Renewables giant Orsted moved deeper into the fast-emerging green fuels market with a major stake in what could be the world’s first large-scale project producing e-methanol aimed at decarbonising the shipping sector.

Orsted has agreed to buy a 45% share of FlagshipONE, an e-methanol plant under development by Sweden’s Liquid Wind that aims to produce about 50,000 tonnes of methanol annually by combining green hydrogen produced using onshore wind and CO2 captured from a combined heat and power plant.

E-methanol is among a clutch of clean fuels tipped to play a key role in greening hard-to-decarbonise sectors of the economy, with FlagshipONE on course to be the world’s first large scale plant, according to Liquid Wind, which is planning a number of similar facilities.

The project – which will use a 70MW electrolyser to produce its green hydrogen – is due to open in Örnsköldsvik, northeast Sweden in 2024 subject to a final investment decision as soon as this year. Financial details of Orsted’s stake were not disclosed.

Shipping is seen as a key potential market for e-methanol and will be the focus of FlagshipONE. Recharge this week reported how maritime giant Moller-Maersk could soon become one of its largest consumers after ordering 12 methanol-fuelled container vessels from Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries.

Orsted and Liquid Wind cited estimates that the maritime industry accounts for 2% of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.

Anders Nordstrøm, head of Orsted’s hydrogen and Power-to-X activities, said: “By partnering with Liquid Wind on FlagshipONE, we’re entering one of the most promising and exciting projects to supply e-methanol at scale and drive the decarbonisation of maritime transport and other uses of e-methanol.”

Denmark-based Orsted is already involved in several other e-fuels initiatives, including exploring a potential giant refuelling facility for ships on the Danish island of Bornholm.