Two highly successful Danish companies in very different sectors — medical device OEM Novo Nordisk and the world’s largest toymaker Lego — have agreed to purchase e-methanol from European Energy A/S for some of their plastics processing operations. E-methanol is described as a lower-carbon alternative to conventional plastic production by European Energy, which produces the material on Danish soil based on renewable energy from wind and solar plants as well as biogenic CO2.
Novo Nordisk will substitute some fossil-based plastic with lower-carbon sources in its signature insulin pens and other medical devices. The Lego Group meanwhile will explore the potential use of e-methanol to make select elements in its portfolio. The toy titan from Billund expects to develop prototypes in the coming years with a view to commercialization in the longer term, said European Energy in its announcement.
The agreement will ensure delivery of e-methanol for part of the two Danish companies’ materials production starting in 2024, said European Energy. The quantities that will be shipped were not disclosed.
The use of e-methanol is one element in Novo Nordisk’s ambition to achieve zero environmental impact. “As a producer of plastic devices, we wish to reduce the use of fossil plastics by engaging with suppliers in our value chain that can provide the necessary solutions, such as e-methanol for plastic production,” said Dorethe Nielsen, vice president of corporate environmental strategy at Novo Nordisk, in a prepared statement. She also hopes that this step will set an example and encourage more businesses to get involved in the decarbonization of plastics production.
Lego noted that e-methanol is the third sustainable material that it has adopted in its quest to develop lower-carbon plastics. Previously, it developed bio-polyethylene and made prototype bricks from recycled PET.
European Energy will begin producing 32,000 tonnes of e-methanol annually starting in 2024, reported Reuters. Shipping company Maersk agreed to buy half of that capacity last year for its vessels, 19 of which can sail on methanol, according to Reuters.