Major CSR initiative: DFDS invests in the development of biofuel

DFDS is investing in the biofuel producer MASH Energy. “The company produces biofuel from agricultural waste in Tanzania. In this way we take responsibility for developing an alternative to fossil fuel and live up to our new CSR ambition,” says Sofie Hebeltoft, Head of CSR.


DFDS has elevated our Corporate Social Responsibility to a strategic level, and yesterday we took a major step to fulfil our higher ambitions. With Torben Carlsen’s signature, we sealed an agreement to an investment of up to DKK 10 million which will be made in three stages and eventually make DFDS a 24% shareholder of the company.

“MASH Energy produces biofuel from agricultural waste in Tanzania. The CO2-neutral biofuel can be used in ships, and we are currently working on a plan to prepare the biofuel for testing in one of our ship’s engines,” says Sofie Hebeltoft, Head of CSR.

The CO2-neutral biofuel can be used in ships, and DFDS and Mash are currently working on a plan to prepare the biofuel for testing in one of our ship’s engines.

“During the growth season, the nut trees absorb CO2 that is emitted when the biofuel is combusted. In addition, there is a substantial further effect associated with the production of the fuel as the by-product – the so-called biochar – binds CO2 during the production process. Furthermore, the biochar is an efficient fertiliser in the fields where the additional plant growth will absorb large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere,” says Jakob Andersen, CEO of MASH Energy, and lecturer at the Technical University of Denmark, DTU.

Jakob Andersen is CEO of MASH Energy. He and four colleagues from DTU are the founders of the company, which since the beginning of 2015 has developed the thermochemical processes and the reactor that can produce the oil from agricultural wastes, including waste products of nut farming and processing.

The technology is already being used as part of an UN-supported project in Tanzania for the production of biofuel. The fuel is currently being produced from the waste products of multiple nut processing factories and has been delivered and sold to local-industry.

The reactor is constructed by the company’s own employees in MASH Energy’s factory in India.

“We are extremely pleased to add a large ship operator such as DFDS to the ownership circle and that we will thus get the opportunity to test the biofuel in engines and verify that our product is indeed of the quality and price necessary for it to succeed in the shipping industry,” says Jakob Andersen.

Great potential

“The investment is a result of our ambition to take responsibility for the development of commercially viable biofuel that is a real alternative to fossil fuels. We have had a close dialogue with the company and its owners since its founding in 2015 and have great confidence in our joint abilities to fulfil the ambitions that are also perfectly in line with DFDS’ ambitions to reduce the carbon footprints of our ships,” says Sofie.

“In the long term, the aim is to produce enough quantities to make the biofuel commercially viable and work towards identifying other waste products that can be used to produce bio-fuel.”

Board representatives

The company will continue being operated by the founders. DFDS will get two seats in the board of directors where we will be represented by Rene Elster, VP of Corporate Finance, and Patricia Ayoub, Project & Portfolio Manager in DFDS’ Innovation & Technology department.






April 25, 2019

5 replies
  1. Erik Kall
    Erik Kall says:

    That was really interesting news. This is a problem that shipping will benefit from if it is adressed. A bigger and bigger part of the population especially in the Scandinavian countries are looking for carbonfree alternatives to flying. If you were to reinstate a route from UK to Denmark and/or Sweden there will be an increasing market. Domestic flying in Sweden have decreased and journeys with train have increased 10% because people are actively seeking alternatives. UK is one of the top destinations for travel from Scandinavia but is today only practically possible to do with flights. I am certain that the market have changed in the 5 years since you were forced to close the last route between Scandinavia and UK. Not only would a reinstated route with biofuels be financial viable but it would also give you a decisive lead as a sustainable shipping company. The service you were able to offer us going to UK have been deeply missed!

  2. James Drennan
    James Drennan says:

    Good to see DFDS taking a lead in this field. With the current focus on climate change and the gathering interest created by Greta Thunberg, together with the protests in London, it is only a matter of time before more and more of the transport industry moves away from fossil fuels.
    This is where shipping can be at an advantage over flight and it would happen even sooner if governments were to cease the practise of subsiding the aviation industry. I am sure a return of the Harwich to Esbjerg route would have significant benefits for all concerned and DFDS would be at the forefront of new routes for generations to come.

  3. Dave Norman
    Dave Norman says:

    The only thing holding the ferry companies back is their lack of a routed currently operating from the UK

    A night boat passenger route to Hamburg or Scandinavia would certainly appeal to many people hand post brexit will likely become even more cost effective.

  4. Chris carr
    Chris carr says:

    We need our ferry Harwich Esbjerg, much easier friendlier, and hassle than flying, blocked motorways etc miss flights

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