Image Credit: Maersk Tankers

Maersk Tankers and BP Report Successful ‘Drop-In’ Biofuel Trials

Mike Schuler
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December 20, 2021

Maersk Tankers and BP have announced a successful trial using a “drop-in” biofuel blend to power two tankers, demonstrating the potential for sustainable biofuels to help reduce carbon emissions in shipping.

The trials were conducted onboard the Maersk Cirrus and Maersk Navigator, two product tankers on time-charter to BP from Maersk Tankers. Each vessel was supplied with bp Marine B30 biofuel, consisting of 30% fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) blended with very low sulfur fuel oil (VLSFO).

Fatty acid methyl esters are an alternative renewable fuel largely produced from recycled cooking oils and renewable oil sources. It has physical properties similar to conventional diesel, but is also non-toxic and biodegradable.

The trials took place on voyages from Rotterdam to West Africa, during which tests were carried out to assess the reliability and performance of the B30 biofuel blend in each ship’s main engine, auxiliary engine and boiler, and any impact on fuel tanks to determine the level of interchangeability with other fuel types.

The companies report no adverse effects to equipment or machinery during or after the trials, and no modifications to the engine or infrastructure were required for the trials, demonstrating the suitability of sustainable biofuels for use as a ‘drop in fuel’.

BP, as major global marine fuel and lubricants supplier and operator and charterer of tankers and other vessels, is aiming to regularly supply biofuel blends for their operated and time-charter vessels when they refuel in the Netherlands, subject to owners and Flag-state approval.

“At any one time bp has around 300 ships on the water moving our products around the world,” said Carol Howle, BP’s executive vice president of trading & shipping. “With an ambition to be a net zero company by 2050 and help the world get there too, it’s vital we help decarbonize this hard-to-abate sector. We’re proud to be working with a partner like Maersk Tankers, to develop new alternative fuels and low carbon solutions that will help accelerate the shipping industry’s energy transition.”

“The need to cut emissions is one of the most important challenges facing shipping right now,” adds Christian M. Ingerslev, Maersk Tankers’ Chief Executive Officer. “We are only able to rise to this challenge if we do it in partnerships and explore a multitude of solutions. With bp, we are combining our expertise to play our part in testing and making alternative fuels available.”

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