Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Giants Of The Shipping World Combine To Test Biodiesel In Container Vessel

Maersk Line And Lloyds Register Ally to Test Fuel
Shipping News Feature

UK / DENMARK / NETHERLANDS – Two of the most renowned names in the shipping industry, Maersk and Lloyd’s Register, are cooperating with the Dutch government and a number of specialist contractors to run a trial on the use of biodiesel fuel in marine engines.

The trials aim to explore the problems that could be encountered by vessels using the FAME (fatty acid methyl esters) fuel, which has experienced variable results in studies conducted by the automotive industry. The potential benefits are significant however, as this fuel is based on sustainable crops that can be grown in temperate climates or reused oils.

Speaking of the test program, Kim Tanneberger, a specialist on biodiesel at Lloyd’s Register’s Strategic Research Group (SRG), said that: “One of the aims of the tests is to establish the degree to which issues experienced by the automotive industry in the use of FAME will be duplicated on board ship, in particular the impact on storage stability, handling and its subsequent use in the engine. Where adverse effects arise it is hoped to find solutions to overcome them.”

Initially the fuel will be tested aboard the Maersk Kalmar, a 6,690-TEU Maersk Line container ship, in a 5% and 7% FAME blend with the percentages gradually increased. Theoretically the fuel can be used neat, though whether the trials will proceed this far will depend on initial results.

The trial is especially important to Maersk, who have committed to reducing CO2 emissions from their vessels by 20% per container by 2017. Lasse Kragh Andersen, Senior Environmental Specialist in Maersk Maritime Technology said that: “At Maersk Maritime Technology we see the development of the technology behind shipping and biofuel as a big and exciting business opportunity.

“Exploring the behaviour of our engines and storage tanks and knowing the change in air emissions by using FAME blends onboard will give us valuable knowledge of the opportunities and challenges.”

(pic: The Maersk Kalmar)