Decarbonization center completes two biofuel bunker trials

The Global Center for Maritime Decarbonization (GCMD) has completed trials on two supply chains of biofuel blends for ship bunkering, the center said on Tuesday.

The shipping industry has sought to source green fuels to reduce carbon emissions in the run-up to the International Maritime Organization’s 2030 and 2050 decarbonization targets. Biofuel bunkering is gaining traction in Singapore, with more than 90 biofuel bunkering operations completed over the past year, according to the Singapore Maritime and Port Authority.

The trials were part of an $18 million global biofuel bunker project launched by the GCMD in July last year and is expected to last 12 to 18 months.

The two trials took place from October 31 to February 15, bunkering about 4,700 tons of sustainable biofuel blends, the center said.

The biofuel blends used in the trials consisted of used cooking oil methyl ester (UCOME) blended with very low sulfur fuel oil (VLSFO) and high sulfur fuel oil (HSFO) respectively.

In the first chain, energy company Chevron supplied a blend of 24% biofuel (B24) and the remainder VLSFO to vessels CMA CGM Maupassant and MOL Endowment, operated by major shipping companies CMA CGM and ONE, respectively.

Chevron also bunkered its own ship, the Singapore Voyager, on a 20% biofuel (B20) and HSFO blend, and the Angelicoussis Group’s ship, the Elizabeth IA.

Separately, energy giant TotalEnergies Marine Fuels delivered a B24 VLSFO blend to NYK owned vessel Lycaste Peace.

The biofuels were traced from their origin of production to where the fuels were blended and bunkered in Singapore.

“The lack of certainty around the quality, quantity and emission control of biofuels is a pain point we identified in surveying more than 100 industry stakeholders,” said Sanjay Kuttan, Chief Technology Officer at GCMD.

He added that developing a framework to create transparency in the biofuel supply chain will increase user confidence and lower the barrier to wider adoption.

Next up will be three more supply chain trials using different biofuel sources, the GCMD said.

The third trial will use Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME) blended with VLSFO, while the fourth trial will use Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (HVO) with sea gas oil in Rotterdam.

Crude algal oil (CAO) will be evaluated as a drop-in fuel for the fifth supply chain trial.

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