Makeen Energy – Total Sustainable Solutions
Makeen Energy is the company behind Denmark’s first LBG plant, but the business is involved in a broad spectrum of sustainable energy projects.
Makeen Energy is a Danish company. Originally based in Aarhus, Denmark’s second-largest city, as it expanded the company moved its headquarters to Randers, into the former headquarters of wind turbine solutions firm, Vestas.
It is a building with a suitable heritage for Makeen Energy.
“We’re working on green solutions in energy. We build infrastructure, solutions for gas, biogas, plastic waste conversion, power projects, and solar street lighting,” explains Frej Olsen, Head of KC LNG at Makeen Energy. “All of our projects are different, but all are related to green technology.”
The company’s range doesn’t just encompass a variety of sustainable projects, but also a range of roles within each project.
“We are engineers with many years of experience in project management. We can take service and facility management responsibility,” Olsen tells us. “Many of our clients are coming to us after we’ve sold a project to them saying ‘We’d like you to run the plant because who knows the plant better than the guys building it?’”
Today Makeen Energy has roughly 2,500 employees across six continents, a number that is growing each and every year. There are Makeen Energy offices in 20 different countries around the world, and customers in 140 countries. The firm has delivered on over 5,000 projects. The business is still expanding in all areas, particularly facility management where a new contract can result in 200-300 new colleagues. This year the company is expecting a turnover of roughly 200 million euros. But as much as Makeen Energy is pursuing new business, it always does so with one eye on the long game.
“We’re very proud that our average relationship with a customer lasts 26 years. One of our values is we’re always present and we’re there to fix problems as they arise,” Olsen says.
“We go into dealings with our clients with a long-term perspective. A lead becomes a customer becomes part of our family. I really think this is an area where we have a competitive advantage in that we take on the entire supply chain.”
Putting Money Where Their Mouth Is
While Makeen Energy can offer services throughout a product development cycle, it is when they all come together that it really proves it is more than the sum of its parts.
“I would say many people in this industry like that we’re a total solution provider,” Olsen says. “When we work with clients, we inform them we don’t have any problems taking on all the headaches.
We can take the project from the start, as a turnkey operation and if needed provide service and facility management afterwards.”
Makeen Energy is a company that has built its reputation by showing that it is willing to stand by, and on, its own work.
“We’re a company not afraid of pushing the boundaries or bringing about innovation. We’re an engineering company and through the years we’ve developed many new solutions and standards for tomorrow,” Olsen tells us.
“In the LPG industry processing 1,000 to 2,000 cylinders an hour was the norm, but we developed a system to fill up to 4,500 cylinders in the same period. We developed a patent for LNG bunkering with zero emissions.
We’re not afraid to set the standards of tomorrow and invest in new technologies, and we put our own money into making test plants to prove our ideas work in reality.”
Planting an Idea
To see their capabilities in action, one need only take a look at Denmark’s first LBG Plant, conceived of, developed and run by Makeen Energy alongside carefully selected partners.
“To give you the right idea about this project we need to go a bit back,” Olsen says. “In 2015 we delivered a bunkering facility to a Danish Ferry. In order to get the gas for this ferry, we had to drive all the way down to Rotterdam’s Gate terminal, 850 km each way.”
Makeen Energy was convinced there had to be a better way.
“We asked, would it be possible to produce the gas locally and minimise the distance between the production facility and consumer, to the benefit of all?” Olsen recalls. “We did studies, showed that a large part of the price for the gas was logistics and came to the conclusion there was something here.”
Makeen Energy applied for funds from the Danish Innovation Fund, presented the new theory, but eventually decided they needed a practical demonstration.
“At some point, you have to put your hand on the cooking plate and test the theory,” Olsen says.
Makeen Energy built a test plant that showed good results validating its theory. The next step was to make it a reality and to do that Makeen would need partners.
“We needed to find partners who knew about the market, green energy and green fuels,” Olsen explains. “Those Partners were Bunker Holding and Nature Energy.
Bunker Holding had interactions with the maritime industry and Nature Energy had the links with green biogas, as Europe’s biggest producer of biogas while Bunker Holding is the world’s largest bunker company.”
Today, Nature Energy owns two-thirds of the project while Makeen Energy is a one third shareholder holder. Bunker Holding is a strategic partner, the sales arm in front of the maritime industry, while still maintaining a close relationship with the project.
“We have built a technology where it’s possible to increase capacity when the market is ready for it,” Olsen says. “It is built-in modules of 60-ton-a-day production facilities.
So, it is easy to start small and increase in capacity as the market grows. We could see potential in Denmark but it is crucial you don’t over-invest in a premature market; you find the right balance between demand and your investment.”
All of this, Olsen is keen to point out, is the result of private enterprise.
“It’s possible to make a green project and product for maritime and the land sector. It’s possible to make it viable,” he insists. “This is a commercial project without any subsidies. These companies are coming together because we think it makes sense.”
Olsen believes the future of gas in Denmark is bright.
“In Denmark, in 2040 100% of the natural gas grid will be biogas. Today in the northern part of Denmark, 33% of gas is biogas. Europe has a target of being carbon neutral by 2050,” he points out.
“If you look across the cycle biogas leads up to a 202% reduction in CO2 compared to a diesel truck. The potential is high. If we convert 10,000 trucks and 75,000 vans, we will be able to make a reduction of 1 million tons of CO2 by 2030, 25% of Denmark’s CO2 emissions from transport.” Going forward, Makeen Energy is still looking at other green projects.
“As a company, we’re also working in other areas. One area is plastic conversion- taking waste plastic and turning it into an oil-based product you can use as fuel or for different purposes such as new plastic products,” Olsen says. “We’re building the first plant capable of producing 25 tons of oil product a day starting in 2022.”
Makeen Energy is also part of the consortium behind Project Greensand, a carbon storage project in Denmark that will liquefy CO2, storing up to 8 million tons a year in an area of the North Sea.