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NORDEN acquires stake in biofuel start-up

NORDEN acquires stake in biofuel start-up
MASH Makes ApS is a developer of biomass pyrolysis- and gasification technologies (image courtesy MASH Makes).

Denmark-headed independent shipping company Dampskibsselskabet NORDEN A/S (NORDEN) has disclosed that has acquired a minority stake in MASH Makes ApS, a Danish-Indian biofuel scale-up, which researches, develops, and produces renewable fuels from biomass waste.

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According to a statement, the investment the value of which has not been disclosed is a “strategic partnership”, where NORDEN secures access to renewable fuels, specifically bio-oil, at “favorable pricing.”

The partnership places NORDEN at the forefront of the research and development of future renewable fuels, where NORDEN can also benefit from future renewable bio-oils once developed.

NORDEN and MASH Makes have prior to the investment collaborated on the use of biofuels since 2021.

Based on this collaboration and subsequent in-depth review of the MASH Makes technical platform and business model, NORDEN gained insights into the viability and scalability of the MASH Makes biofuel platform.

We cannot rely solely on traditional offtake agreements with fuel suppliers to achieve decarbonization at the necessary speed that climate change requires. We need to be a greater part of the supply chain, to both ensure significant volumes and attractive prices that can make NORDEN competitive in offering low-emission freight solutions to our customers, said Jan Rindbo CEO of NORDEN.

Decarbonizing customers’ supply chains

The investment is in line with NORDEN’s climate strategy of helping its customers decarbonize their supply chain and is also a natural next step in our biofuel journey.

In 2018, NORDEN was one of the first shipping companies to successfully trial 100 percent biofuel on a large ocean-going vessel.

With this investment, we are turning our attention to the next generation of biofuels and scaling up the consumption of biofuel. The benefit of bio-oil is that it can be used in existing vessel technologies and bridge the gap between transitioning from fossil fuels to carbon-free fuels, which requires new vessel technologies, said Adam Nielsen, Head of Logistics & Climate Solutions at NORDEN.

The first trial in 2024

As a strategic partner, NORDEN’s role will be to help MASH Makes bring its bio-oil products to the marine fuel market and offtake biofuel for NORDEN’s fleet.

A spin-out from the Technological University of Denmark (DTU), MASH Makes is developing a highly automated and scalable pyrolysis and gasification reactor platforms able to produce bio-oil, hydrogen, and electricity from agricultural waste, with the main byproduct of this process being biochar.

The company has a test plant operating in Ahmedabad, India, and intends to roll out its technology platform by way of a series of Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs). Each commercial-scale SPV will utilize MASH Makes’ technology and will be tailored to the local supply chain of available biomass and energy needs.

Located in Karnataka, India, financing for the first SPV – MASH Makes SPV I A/S – has closed with the participation of amongst others Lundgreen Capital alternative investment fund (AIF) and the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO).

The production of MASH Makes’ first bio-oil product is in a late development stage and the company expects to conduct the first trial onboard NORDEN vessels in early 2024.

Furthermore, the expectation is that MASH Makes can gradually ramp up its production and become a significant supplier to NORDEN’s fleet within the next three years in strategically important locations for decarbonizing global tramp shipping.

We are excited and humbled by the fact that NORDEN – a uniquely capable purchaser in the biofuel space – has seen sufficient potential in our platform to not only invest but also to enter a strategic offtake- and potential production site financing agreements with MASH. We believe that this partnership will greatly accelerate the continued scale-up of our business and put us on track for our gigaton range greenhouse gas reduction target, said Jakob Andersen, CEO of MASH Makes.

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