Can You Solve "the Chicken or the Egg” Energy Riddle?

Written By Luke Sweeney

Updated May 15, 2024

Which came first? You can’t have one without first having the other. 

chicken or egg

It’s not just a riddle — this concept has real implications in the real world.

In the case of energy, particularly green energy, it’s impossible to scale up supply and drive down cost without demand. Only bleeding hearts will accept the price hike.

But if the cost can’t compete with current fossil fuel standards, that demand will never materialize. It’s a paradox that has so far prevented an all-out green takeover of the world’s energy grid. 

Instead, progress has been slow and deliberate. Each new green energy breakthrough is practically forced to self-fund as it competes against the long-established fossil fuel industry. 

When you ask the average company why it won't ditch fossil fuels and go green, I guarantee its main hang-up will be the cost. 

After all, it's in business to make money. Most business owners won’t care until the government forces them to. 

Heavy industries like shipping and air travel have so far been neglected by the green energy revolution. As we’ve mentioned before, massive shipping tankers and passenger planes are almost impossible to electrify. 

Green fuels that could power these enormous machines are still absurdly expensive compared with diesel and bunker oil. 

For this reason, we’re only now seeing shipping companies upgrading their biggest vessels to emission-free models. 

This Shipping Giant Is (Finally) Going Green

Maersk just made headlines for its 100% methanol-powered shipping tankers — eight of them, to be precise. 

maersk methanol ship

These massive crafts can hold 16,000 containers, about as much as the company’s biggest fossil fuel versions. 

Methanol, sometimes called wood alcohol, is a natural gas byproduct that can help cut carbon emissions in some of the world’s biggest, dirtiest machines.

methanol image

It’s stable at room temperature, relatively energy-dense, and has been in use as a fuel alternative for more than 30 years now. 

At the scale Maersk will need, methanol fuel is still far too expensive to be economical. Very few companies have the disposable income needed to make a gamble this big. 

But these are the projects that become the “egg” in our riddle. Maersk is reportedly launching its methanol ships sometime in 2023, officially becoming the first major shipping company to do so. 

Insiders claim that Maersk produces about 33 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. By using these eight new ships, the company hopes to knock off about 1 million tonnes per year. 

But as one company executive put it, that’s “1 million down, 32 million to go.” 

I’m Not Saying Maersk Is Wrong, But…

It’s great to see companies taking the dive into green energy and pushing the industry forward, but I think Maersk might have made a mistake here. 

Methanol is a fantastic fuel, but the stuff Maersk is buying will still be made with natural gas. Bio-methanol has some potential, but total annual output across the globe is under 200,000 tonnes per year. 

It’s a major reduction in harmful emissions like sulfur and other particulate matter, but methanol still isn't the magic bullet. At best, it’s yet another stopgap that will no doubt prolong natural gas usage. 

That’s not necessarily a problem, but it could distract companies from some far more promising options. 

In fact, there is one green fuel in particular that releases zero carbon emissions throughout the entire process. It can be created with nitrogen from the air and hydrogen from plain water. 

And to top it all off, one small company found a way to generate this incredible fuel inside a self-contained machine. No giant factories or noxious industrial waste is involved at any point. 

green ammonia generator ammpower

You’ve got to see this for yourself. Then maybe you’ll understand why I’m so skeptical of a massive company like Maersk aiming so low. 

Don’t wait — this presentation contains time-sensitive information that you don’t want to miss.

To your wealth,

Luke Sweeney
Contributor, Energy and Capital

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Luke’s technical know-how combined with an insatiable scientific curiosity has helped uncover some of our most promising leads in the tech sector. He has a knack for breaking down complicated scientific concepts into an easy-to-digest format, while still keeping a sharp focus on the core information. His role at Angel is simple: transform piles of obscure data into profitable investment leads. When following our recommendations, rest assured that a truly exhaustive amount of research goes on behind the scenes..

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