Product tankers have successfully sailed from Netherlands to West Africa, powered by a renewable biofuel partly produced from recycled cooking oils.
The voyage was a one-time charter trial journey initiated by fuel giant BP and Maersk Tankers, to demonstrate the potential for sustainable biofuels to decarbonise the industry.
Global shipping currently accounts for around three per cent of the global carbon emissions.
BP argues biofuels can be used as a credible marine ‘drop-in fuel’ – an energy source that can be used in the same pipelines as petroleum products.
The trial was completed by two ships – Maersk Circus and Maersk Navigator – which were 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.
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.
In addition, no modifications to the engine or infrastructure were required, demonstrating the suitability of sustainable biofuels for use as a ‘drop in fuel’.
BP now aims to regularly supply biofuel blends for their operated and time-charter vessels when they refuel in the Netherlands,
Carol Howle, BP’s executive vice president of trading and shipping said: “With an ambition to be a net zero company by 2050 and help the world get there too, it’s vital we help decarbonize this hard-to-abate sector.”
Christian M. Ingerslev, Maersk Tankers’ chief executive 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.”