Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Ten Day Sea Trial Evidences the Viability of Biofuels as an Alternative for Merchant Vessels

Latest Evidence Offers Hopes for Reduction in Shipping Emissions
Shipping News Feature

NETHERLANDS – WORLDWIDE – One shipping line seemingly determined to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to cleaning up its act as regards emissions is tanker operator Stena Bulk. Having commenced trials using methanol as a fuel last year, the latest venture to seek a cleaner alternative to traditional or low sulphur fuel oil involves biofuel oil and, so far, things seem to be going well.

As with the methanol trial the test bed vessel in this case is one of Stena’s IMOIIMAX tankers, the Stena Immortal, a 49,646 deadweight tonne medium range (MR) ship which ran the trial in a typical commercial operation. The fuel, GoodFuels Bio Fuel Oil (BFO), was taken on during the vessel’s recent call at the Port of Rotterdam.

During the latest trial, BFO was tested in tanks, storage and as it was burned in the engines, the fuel was again proven to be a technically compliant alternative to the fossil default for oceangoing tanker vessels. Stena says the success of this trial further underlines sustainable marine biofuel’s position within the marine fuel mix, and will help owners and operators to future-proof against current and impending regulations.

As the trial was conducted with 100% biofuel, it also shows that low-carbon shipping doesn’t have to be decades away but viable also in the shorter term if industry leaders work together to push the development. Because it substantially reduces CO2 and SOX emissions, GoodFuels’ Bio Fuel Oil ensures compliance with the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) 2020 Sulphur Cap, Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction requirements and upcoming regulations to reduce carbon intensity from shipping. Erik Hånell, President and CEO Stena Bulk, commented:

“We like to show the industry that we can start reducing the carbon footprint of shipping here and now while maintaining highest quality technical and commercial operations. The Stena Immortal performed very well running on the biofuel while continuing to deliver according to our customers’ needs without any disruption.

"The industry needs pioneers willing to collaborate, share knowledge and push the development towards more sustainable shipping. We’re happy to collaborate with GoodFuels in this test to take on that mission and encourage others to join us. We are of course open and have a willingness to drive and take part of this development together with stakeholders in this industry.”

Following this successful trial on Stena Immortal, Stena Bulk and GoodFuels Marine will continue working together to gain more experience and scale the usage of Bio Fuel Oil as an alternative to conventional fossil-based fuel. Dirk Kronemeijer, CEO, GoodFuels Marine was enthusiastic, saying:

“We are delighted this test with Stena Bulk was a success and want to thank them for joining us in our mission to develop a carbon-busting solution that is scalable, truly sustainable, technically compliant and, crucially, affordable.

“For the past five years, we have focused on realising the wide scale use of sustainable marine biofuel, which has enabled us to continue to develop biofuels as a true solution to the market’s problems. Today’s announcement marks yet another a crucial move towards offering the shipping industry a credible near-zero carbon alternative to heavy fuel oil and very low sulphur fuel oil.”

The question which always hangs over bio fuels is always that of sustainability, producing products from viable foodstuffs etc. is simply sleight of hand, but in this case GoodFuels insists Bio Fuel Oil is sustainably sourced and completely derived from forest residues and waste oil products. It says the fuel is also verified by an independent sustainability board of leading academics and NGOs in the transport sectors.

Photo: Stena Bulk MR vessel Stena Immortal ran on 100% biofuel during the 10-day sea trial.