Successful marine biofuel trials show potential to cut carbon emissions in shipping

biofuel

bp and Maersk Tankers, with support from the Danish Maritime Authority, have successfully completed trials using biofuel-blended marine fuel in product tankers, demonstrating that sustainable biofuels can be used as a marine ‘drop-in fuel’ to help reduce carbon emissions in shipping.

Global shipping accounts for around three per cent of the global carbon emissions. bp is a major global marine fuel and lubricants supplier and operator and charterer of tankers and other vessels worldwide. Maersk Tankers commercially manages the largest tanker fleet in the world. The companies came together in this trial as part of their contribution to the decarbonisation of the industry.

Carol Howle, bp’s executive vice president of trading and shipping, said: “At any one time bp has around 300 ships on the water moving our products around the world. With an ambition to be a net zero company by 2050 and help the world get there too, it is vital we help decarbonise this hard-to-abate sector. We are 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 trials were completed on Maersk Cirrus and Maersk Navigator – product tankers on time-charter to bp from Maersk Tankers.

Christian M. Ingerslev, Maersk Tankers’ chief executive officer, said: “The need to cut emissions is one of the most important challenges facing shipping right now. 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.”

Each vessel was supplied with bp Marine B30 biofuel, consisting of 30 per cent fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) blended with very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO).

FAME is a renewable alternative fuel (biofuel) largely produced from recycled cooking oils and renewable oil sources. It has physical properties similar to conventional diesel, and is also non-toxic and biodegradable. The origination and production of the feedstocks used to produce FAME is certified for its sustainability to internationally recognised standards.

The trials saw the vessels sail from Rotterdam to West Africa. Throughout the trials, 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.

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

bp aims 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. They are working with companies in key industrial sectors that have significant carbon emissions to manage, and supporting their work to decarbonise, as part of its ongoing efforts to help decarbonise the shipping industry.

Maersk Tankers is developing and deploying solutions that help shipowners boost the economic and environmental performance of their vessels. Through its pools and industry-wide collaboration, the company is working in partnerships to contribute to a more sustainable future for the industry.

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