COP28 – Side event: Cutting edge fuels for heavy industry, aviation, and shipping


The Side Event was organized by the CEM Biofuture Campaign, Methanol Institute, and the Renewable Natural Gas Coalition and generously hosted by Denmark State of Green.


The COP28 Side Event on Cutting Edge Fuels was held on 6 December 2023. It was was organized by the CEM Biofuture Campaign, Methanol Institute, and the Renewable Natural Gas Coalition and generously hosted by Denmark State of Green.


De-fossilizing fuels for heavy industry and transport, including aviation and maritime, is fundamental to achieving Net Zero Emissions. Fortunately, tremendous progress is being made by Danish companies and their global peers to realize the potential for renewable, small molecule fuels, like methane, methanol, and DME, to de-fossilize heavy industry and transport.

This public panel discussion explored progress in Bio-to-X and Power-to-X and discussed lessons for countries and hard-to-abate sectors eager to produce and use cutting-edge fuels that complement hydrogen production and use.

Speakers and panelists addressed the following questions:

  1. What is the status – and plans for expansion – of Power-to-X and Bio-to-X to scale-up production of small molecule renewable fuels?
  2. What can Clean Energy Ministerial and Mission Innovation countries do to increase these opportunities?
  3. What lessons should EU and CEM/MI countries take from the Danish experience?

Key Takeaways

  1. The world is at a “make-or-break” moment for climate change and all available solutions are needed to transition away from fossil fuels.
  2. The U.S. government strongly supports innovation in producing low-emissions biofuels and e-fuels. The Inflation Reduction Act provides incentives and funds to enable increased production. Examples include the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge and various efforts to increase production of sustainable marine fuels.
  3. At COP28 the OECD launched a report entitled “Carbon Management: Bioeconomy and Beyond” that encourages governments and industry to relieve pressure on bioproduction and land use, by complementing biomass with recycled carbon. Upgrading of carbon-rich industry gases and solid waste streams is acceptable, even though it is energy intensive.
  4. LanzaTech is creatively using biotechnology to capture and use of carbon for consumer goods beyond fuels, such as clothing. LanzaTech is converting carbon monoxide rich waste gases from processes like steelmaking into ethanol that can be converted into ethylene, which is a basic building block for industrial synthesis of fibers and materials.
  5. Topsoe provides technologies are available today to produce fuels for the Net-Zero Circular Economy. Synthesis of these molecular fuels is most efficient when production facilities for ammonia, hydrogen, methane, methanol, and dimethyl ether are co-located.
  6. OCI Global is developing methanol for shipping and industrial fuel applications.
  7. In Denmark, Mitsui recently invested in the first e-methanol production and sales business.
  8. SOWITEC is a leader in the renewable energy space in Kenya. They are leveraging their expertise in renewable to begin production of clean burning methanol that can be used for either power production or as a clean-burning cooking fuel.
  9. Dimeta is addressing the need for fuels in off-grid locations. Renewable dimethyl ether (DME) can be used in existing liquid propane gas (LPG) infrastructure. To accelerate deployment, governments should clarify and embrace book-and-claim approaches to reduce the need to transport fuels long distances. Moving fuels increases their net carbon intensity and makes them less relevant for reducing overall emissions.

Meeting Agenda

Welcoming Remarks: Denmark | Ambassador Lars Steen Nielsen, General Counsel in Dubai

Ted-style talk #1: U.S. Department of Energy | Jeff Marootian, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary

Ted-style talk #2: OECD | Jens Lundsgaard, Deputy Director for Science, Technology, and Innovation

Ted-style talk #3:Topsoe (Denmark) | Elena Scalritti, Chief Commercial Officer

Ted-Style talk #4: LanzaTech (USA) | Jennifer Holmgren, CEO

Industry panel discussion

  • OCI Global (Netherlands) | Hanh Nguyen, Vice President for Global Sustainability
  • Mitsui (Japan) |Tatsuya (Todd) Hoshino,DeputyGeneral Manager – Methanol & Ammonia Division
  • SOWITEC (Kenya) | Catherine Irura, Managing Director
  • Dimeta (Netherlands) | Sophia Haywood, Director, Corporate Development
  • LanzaTech (USA) | Jennifer Holmgren, CEO

Moderator for Panel Discussion and Audience Dialog

CEM Biofuture Campaign | Gerard Ostheimer, Manager

Learn more about Biofuture Campaign