Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Bid Launched to Clean Up London's Vital Artery as Thames Collaboration Launches

Commercial River Traffic to Reduce Pollution Levels
Shipping News Feature

UK – Those with memories as long as some of our venerable senior staff (do you mean aged? Ed) will recollect the River Thames being a much dirtier waterway than it currently is. There remains however much work to be done and, in addition to a variety of schemes to exclude run off water and effluent from the river, a new collaboration aims to take things further forward.

GPS Marine claims the title of the biggest commercial vessel operator on the Thames, and now the Rochester based company has cemented its partnership with Green Biofuels to utilise that organisation’s GreenD+ product, a process begun last year when it fuelled the Thames Tideway Tug pulling barges to one of London’s largest construction projects, the new ‘Super Sewer’, itself designed to further purge the river.

From this week the new fuel bunker barge, the Dispenser will not only be refuelling the tug delivering tunnel lining ring segments for the Thames Tideway Central Section, but also a growing number of other commercial vessels on and around the Thames. The Dispenser will supply GreenD+, claimed as the lowest emission diesel fuel available on the river, which the partners say means the cleaner fuels used by river vessels can both replace HGVs on London roads and deliver a huge reduction in emissions and boost air quality.

The Dispenser, a refurbished barge, will become London’s premier green floating fuel station and will help make an annual carbon emissions saving equivalent to 3,861 tonnes of CO2. Green Biofuels has worked in conjunction with GPS Marine and Stolthaven Terminal to allow the Dispenser to load directly from the terminal to the river, removing the need for on-road delivery tankers in the supply chain to fuel river vessels.

GPS Marine says it is fully committed to green energy and is transitioning its entire Thames based fleet of 12 tugs to running on GreenD+ with the intention of continuing to cut carbon emissions and improve local air quality. Independent tests at the Millbrook specialist vehicle testing facility have shown that compared to standard diesel emissions, Green D+ has up to an 85% reduction in particulates, and up to a 30% reduction in Nitrogen Oxides, thanks to a special additive not found in any other HVO fuel.

In further independent trials with Red Funnel Ferries in 2018, switching from Marine Gas to GreenD+ resulted in significant emissions reductions of up to 30% NOx and 70% of total particulate matter. Commenting on the benefits of using GreenD+, Darren White, Head of Sustainability, Tideway said that going electric or hydrogen is cost prohibitive at the moment and that GreenD+ is currently the right solution for Tideway. John Spencer, CEO of GPS Marine, added:

“We are both proud and excited to be working with the passionate team at Green Biofuels. Using GreenD+, we don’t have to wait for government policy or intervention, we can make a difference right now. By using GreenD+, we dramatically improve the sustainability and overall CO2 savings benefits with little or no effect on reliability or cost effectiveness.

“Not only do we want to see a cleaner and greener Thames, but removing the need for on-road fuel delivery vehicles also helps to clean London’s air. After moving our entire Thames based fleet to a drop-in advanced fuel, we hope to set an example for other fleets to take environmental responsibility into their own hands, and put words into action.”

The sentiments expressed by the pair were naturally supported by Magnus Hammick, COO of Green Biofuels who, on the launch of the GPS Dispenser, added:

“GPS Marine are backing up their commitment to reducing air pollution and carbon emissions on the Thames with real action, and that deserves celebrating. We’re very proud to be partnered with one of London’s foremost river operators in helping them achieve their environmental goals, and becoming aligned with the aims of the PLA (Port of London Authority) to achieve Net Zero for the river too.”

Photo: The Dispenser in the act of refuelling the barge GPS Vincia.