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Gas carrier Kuapang taking on biofuel bunkers in the Port of Vlissingen

Gas carrier Kuapang taking on biofuel bunkers in the Port of Vlissingen. Photo courtesy GoodFuels FincoEnergies

Advancing Maritime Decarbonization: Latest Successful Biofuel Trial in Green Fuel Supply Chain

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 717
August 15, 2023

The Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD) has announced its latest successful biofuel supply chain trial, part of a pilot to develop a quality, quantity and greenhouse gas abatement assurance framework for drop-in green fuels.

This latest trial involved a biofuel blend of hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) and marine gas oil (MGO) as pilot fuel for LPG propulsion in a mid-sized gas carrier equipped with an LPG dual-fuel engine, which can reduce emissions compared to conventional fuel oil. The gas carrier, named Kaupang, was provided by Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS).

Approximately 200 MT of the B30 biofuel blend was provided by GoodFuels and bunkered in the Port of Vlissingen (Flushing), Netherlands.

The trial involved a tracer in HVO to assure its origination and quantity in the biofuel blend. Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS) conducted extensive laboratory tests on aliquots of the biofuel and biofuel blend collected at numerous pre-determined points along the supply chain to assess quality.

GCMD said the HVO used in this trial has a well-to-wake emissions of 16 gCO2e/MJ, translating to an 83% reduction in emissions compared to using fossil MGO, and the trial demonstrated a 20% net reduction in emissions compared to the Kaupang sailing on VLSFO.

“The experiences from this trial will strengthen the development of our framework to provide emissions abatement assurance when it comes to paying a premium for green fuels over fossil fuels,” said Dr Sanjay Kuttan, Chief Technology Officer of GCMD. Through this pilot, we demonstrated that different tracing techniques can help ensure authenticity and quantity of sustainable biofuels in the supply chain. And using a biofuel blend with LPG can be a feasible pathway for ships to meet the recently revised IMO indicative decarbonisation checkpoint for 2030.”

New interim guidance on the use of biofuels under MARPOL will come into effect in October, providing clarity on the types of biofuels that can be certified sustainable and requiring a minimum of 65% emissions reduction against conventional fuel to be compliant.

The remaining two supply chains of the biofuels assurance framework pilot led by GCMD will be trialled in the coming months, with a public report detailing the assurance framework and trial learnings to be released in early 2024.

“By applying our groundbreaking physical fuel tracing technology in practice in this pilot, we are jointly taking another significant stride towards a more transparent bunker industry that is geared towards decarbonisation in a scaleable way,” said Johannes Schürmann, Commercial Director at GoodFuels. “Transparency is becoming even more crucial as we are now starting to bring the new generation of Sustainable Marine Fuels to market. The ability to access reliable technical insights and sustainability guarantees in every step of the supply chain is absolutely essential.”

The Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD) was established in Singapore with funding from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and six founding partners to support decarbonization of the maritime industry. GCMD is conducting three trials focussed on ammonia bunkering safety, drop-in biofuels, and shipboard carbon capture to help the industry meet or exceed the International Maritime Organization’s goals for 2030 and 2050.

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