Friday, March 22, 2019

Climate Change Spurs Shipping and Industry Groups Into Action

European Biofuel Trial to China and Back
Shipping News Feature
WORLDWIDE – Convinced of the urgency to act on climate change, a group of Dutch multinationals and members of the Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition (DSGC), FrieslandCampina, Heineken, Philips, DSM, Shell and Unilever, have announced that they will join forces with Danish shipping conglomerate AP Moller - Maersk to take a tangible step towards the decarbonisation of ocean shipping.

A pilot, using up to 20% sustainable second-generation biofuels on a large triple-E ocean vessel will sail 25,000 nautical miles from Rotterdam to Shanghai and back on biofuel blends alone, a world's first at this scale, saving 1.5 million kilogrammes CO2 and 20,000 kilogrammes of sulphur. Søren Toft, Chief Operating Officer A.P. Moller - Maersk commented:

"To reach our net zero CO2 target by 2050, in the next 10 years we need big breakthroughs. Maersk cannot do this alone. That is why this collaboration with DSGC and its members is such an important step in identifying and bringing low carbon solutions to life. It lays the foundation for how cross-industry partners can work together to take steps towards a more sustainable future. We welcome others to join in our efforts, as this journey is just beginning.

"Biofuels are one of the viable solutions that can be implemented in the short and medium term. Through this pilot, we aim to learn more about using biofuels in general, and to understand the possibilities around increasing its usage in a sustainable and economical way."

DSGC members and Maersk all agree that tackling harmful emissions related to shipping is urgently needed, and that cross-industry collaboration is required to develop, test and implement new solutions. Shell will act as the fuel supplier for the pilot and Maersk plays the role of operating partner.

Sustainably sourced second-generation biofuels are just one possible solution for the decarbonisation of ocean shipping. Longer term, breakthroughs in fuel and technical development and the investment in commercial supply chains are needed to achieve significant emissions reductions. Jan Peter Balkenende, Chair of the DSGC, commented:

"DSGC companies join in action to contribute to the UN SDGs. With this initiative we focus on Climate Action (SDG 13). We have taken the initiative to partner with AP Moller - Maersk on this important effort. This pilot testing biofuel on a cross ocean shipping lane, marks an important step. However, many more innovations are urgently needed. These can only be successfully developed, tested and implemented in industry collaborations like this."

Shipping accounts for 90% of transported goods and 3% of total global CO2 emissions, and is set to rise to 15% by 2050 if left unchecked. The CO2 savings of this journey alone equates to the annual CO2 emitted by over 200 households in a year or 12 million kilometres travelled in an average car which is 300 times around the world. The voyage will take place between March and June 2019.

The biofuel used in this pilot is a so called 'second generation' product, made from waste sources, in this case used cooking oil (UCOME oil). Second generation biofuel means the biofuel comes from waste products. This can be used cooking oil, forest residues, wood chip waste, among others.

This biofuel is ISCC Certified, meaning that the whole chain is 3rd party certified. The power of biofuel is that it can to a certain extent replace or be blended with conventional (fossil) fuels, without having to make big technical adaptations to the engines or require a complete new power plant.

Photo: Historically shipping has advanced steadily to reduce the impact this vital activity has on the environment.