Decarbonisation Specialist helps to spearhead NORDEN’s green transition


“The exciting thing about advanced biofuel is that it’s turning waste product into energy. In the future, we will see more ships powered on animal manure and sewage sludge.”

Decarbonisation Specialist Federica Conti is helping to spearhead NORDEN’s green transition through her research and development of advanced biofuels.

Federica Conti has spent her academic career researching biofuels. Now the chemical engineer with a PhD in Energy Technology is putting her knowledge into practice – working three days a week on NORDEN’s Fuel Efficiency & Decarbonisation team, and two days as secondee to the Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping.

“It’s been an interesting journey going from research to application and figuring out the challenges of implementing biofuels in the ‘real world,” says Federica. 
A major milestone has been achieved with the launch of NORDEN’s first carbon-neutral freight transport using pure biofuel made from waste cooking oil.  Now the challenge is to scale up the use of biofuels in the business and to find suppliers globally.

Biofuels come from biomass and are ‘carbon-neutral’ because carbon emitted when burning the fuel has already been absorbed over the life-cycle of the biomass - meaning no additional C02 emissions enter the atmosphere.

“Advanced biofuels will play a major role in our green transition at NORDEN,” explains Federica. “They make a big impact in terms of cutting emissions and are the best way forward for our business model. We charter the majority of our ships, so we need an eco-fuel that can work with existing engines.”

Turning waste into energy
At the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center, Federica is part of the Energy & Fuels team working with stakeholders across the shipping sector - including specialists from Ramboll, Total, Novozymes, and Cargill – to map global biomass availability and assess where future demand and production could be.

“The exciting thing about advanced biofuel is that it’s turning waste product into energy,” she explains. “There’s currently a lot of biomass available worldwide, but it’s not being used. In the future, we will see more ships powered on animal manure and sewage sludge.”

Federica believes the coming few years will be a turning point in terms of decarbonisation. “The next 10 years are crucial. Shipping has been reliant on fossil fuels for many years and has expanded based on the supply of fossil fuels. Now, the only option for our planet is to implement new alternative solutions. 
“In five to 10 years, I believe we will be able to bunker biofuels in the major bunkering hubs around the world. It can happen, and it will.”


About Federica Conti:

  • 31 years old
  • Born in Genoa (Italy)
  • Chemical Engineer        
  • PhD in Energy Technology (Aalborg University, Denmark)
  • Decarbonisation Specialist at NORDEN

About the Maersk McKinney Møller Centre: 

The Copenhagen-based Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center is an independent, not-for-profit, research and development centre with a mission to decarbonise the maritime industry. The center works across the shipping industry, collaborating with companies, academia and authorities. As a strategic corporate partner of the Center, NORDEN shares the Zero-Carbon vision and is committed to collaborative climate action. Federica is one of two specialists from our decarbonisation team in NORDEN contributing to projects at the Center related to the development and implementation of future fuels and zero carbon technologies.