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Berlin’s Mayor Franziska Giffey christens world’s first emission-free pusher boat “ELEKTRA”

“ELEKTRA” is the first pusher boat worldwide where a battery-electric drive will be combined with hydrogen and fuel cell technology, says Federal Minister Dr. Volker Wissing.




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NOW GmbH (National Organisation Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology) on Monday (16 May) said Mayor Franziska Giffey christened the ELEKTRA - the world’s first pusher boat where a battery-electric drive will be combined with hydrogen and fuel cell technology - in Berlin’s Westhafen. 

After almost two years of construction at the Hermann Barthel GmbH shipyard in Derben and transfer to the Westhafen in Berlin, the long-term testing of the emission-free pusher boat can finally begin, it said.

Petra Cardinal, Managing Director of BEHALA – Berliner Hafen- und Lagerhausgesellschaft mbH, welcomed the approximately 250 guests who had gathered at Harbour Basin II to commemorate the occasion.

They included many representatives from politics and public authorities as well as project partners and suppliers, the project executing organisation and the project coordinator, the port industry and various associations, press and members of the supervisory board and staff.

In his opening remarks, Federal Minister Dr. Volker Wissing talked about the significance of hydrogen mobility for achieving the climate protection goals of the federal government. 

“The ELEKTRA is a lighthouse project: It is the first pusher boat worldwide where a battery-electric drive will be combined with hydrogen and fuel cell technology. The entire project is a blueprint for climate- and environmentally-friendly inland shipping and is a true pioneering achievement not just technically, but also in terms of regulation,” he said. 

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerd Holbach, overall project manager from the Technical University Berlin, briefly explained the overall project, the concept and the construction design for the innovative pusher boat.

Mayor of Berlin, Franziska Giffey, uttered the phrase: “I hereby christen you ELEKTRA, wish the crew a safe journey and always a hand’s breadth of water under your keel” and christened the ship. 

She added: “The world’s first emission-free pusher boat is the impressive result of the collaboration of those in shipbuilding as well as energy and propulsion technology.”

“I am particularly pleased that much of the Berlin inventor spirit has been incorporated into the development and construction of ELEKTRA.”

“This lighthouse project is an ideal showcase for how innovative ideas can succeed in improving the climate over the long-term on our waterways. Berlin wants to be a pioneer in this area.”

Dr. Corinna Barthel from the Barthel shipyard congratulated the godmother with a bouquet and spoke about the special features of the construction of the ELEKTRA.

The Managing Director (Chair) of NOW GmbH, Kurt-Christoph von Knobelsdorff added: “The ELEKTRA is already a role model for more new ship builds and for that alone, is already a huge success story for the funding strategy of the BMDV.”

“Considering their service lives of 50 years and beyond, the transition to climate-friendly propulsion systems in shipping must now be accelerated.”

The companies BEHALA – Berliner Hafen- und Lagerhausgesellschaft (logistics), the Hermann Barthel shipyard, BALLARD Power Systems (fuel cells), Argo-Anleg (hydrogen system), SER Schiffselektronik Rostock (electric energy system), EST-Floattech (battery system) and HGK Shipping (nautical operation) participated as partners in the development, construction and testing of the ELEKTRA.

As the first zero-emission ship, the ELEKTRA will serve as a role model, because this energy system is conceived in such a way as to make it transferable to many types of inland waterway and coastal ships.

It is not only energy provision for the ship’s propulsion and the pushing of the pusher units that is needed, but also power for the crew, who live, cook and wash on board. 

Furthermore, energy must be provided for temperature control of the rooms and the wheelhouse. The batteries also need a certain ‘comfort temperature’ for efficient operation and a long service life. This must all function with limited carried energy and without losing range.

With 750 kg of usable gaseous hydrogen at 500 bars on board and a battery capacity of approx. 2,500 kilowatt hours, the ship has a range of approx. 400 kilometres in a pushed convoy with the loaded heavy freight lighter, URSUS. 

Therefore, along the shipping routes of Berlin towards Rhine/Ruhr, Hamburg and Stettin, there will only be one additional shore station required to provide ELEKTRA with hydrogen and electricity aside from Westhafen. In all, convoys of up to 150m long can be driven.

Initially, testing will for the most part, take place in the capital region. From 2023, testing will then increasingly be conducted in long-distance transport in the direction of Hamburg.

With a total project volume of approx. EUR 14.6 million (USD 15.43 million), the project is funded by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) in the amount of approx. EUR 9.1 million and supervised and coordinated by Project Management Jülich (PtJ) and the National Organisation Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW).


Photo credit: NOW GmbH
Published: 20 May, 2022


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Platts proposes to launch Singapore bio-bunker fuels market-based assessment

Proposal is on the back of growing interest for blended bio-bunkers in Singapore, the world’s largest bunkering hub, amid increasing pressure on the shipping sector to decarbonise.





RESIZED Singapore Flag

Platts, part of S&P Global Commodity Insights, on Tuesday (23 April) proposed to launch a new daily market-based delivered Singapore bio-bunker assessment, effective 1 August.

This proposal is on the back of growing interest for blended bio-bunkers in Singapore, the world's largest bunkering hub, amid increasing pressure on the shipping sector to decarbonise.

The new assessment would reflect marine fuel blend of biodiesel with low sulphur fuel oil. Platts would publish the Singapore bio-bunkers market-based assessment as a differential to Platts Marine Fuel 0.5% (AMFSA00), and as an outright value.

The assessment specifications would be as follows:

Platts proposes to launch Singapore bio-bunker fuels market-based assessment

Other delivery periods and volumes may be considered in the Platts Market on Close assessment process and normalised back to the above specifications.

Bio-bunkers stems must be incompliance with the EU's Renewable Energy Directive, or RED requirements, and meet sustainability requirements such as ISCC or RSB sustainability criterions.

Platts will not consider bio-bunkers that use palm oil as a bio-component.

International Organization for Standardization is revising the ISO 8217 standards to include additional requirements for blended bio-bunker. The assessment would reflect standards set in the document ISO 8217:2024 Petroleum products -- Fuels (class F) -- specifications of marine fuels, as well as standards set by Singapore's Maritime Port Authority on specifications of marine biofuels (WA 2:2022). Platts is seeking specific feedback on these standard requirements.

Platts is also seeking specific feedback on the reference density of blended bio-bunkers.

The assessment would be published on Platts Biofuels Alert (PBF2500), in the Bunkerwire Report, Bunkerwire Monthly, Biofuelscan report and Biomass-Based Diesel Report.

The new daily bio-bunkers assessment would be timestamped to 5.30 pm Singapore time and follow the Singapore publishing schedule.

Platts spot price assessments consider market information reported to Platts and published throughout the day, including firm bids and offers, transactions and indications of value. In the absence of observable spot market activity, Platts may consider other verifiable data reported. This information will be published as price heards.

At present, Platts publishes a daily cost-based B24 Singapore bio-bunkers assessment reflecting a ratio of 76% fuel oil based on Platts benchmark Marine Fuel 0.5% Bunker Dlvd Spore $/mt assessment (MFSPD00) and 24% used cooking oil methyl ester based on the Platts UCOME FOB Straits $/mt assessment (UCFCB00). This calculated price assessment will continue to be published alongside the proposed new assessment and will be renamed “Platts B24 calculated bio-bunker Singapore.”

Related: Platts launches new blended bio-bunkers assessment in Singapore


Photo credit: Justin Lim on Unsplash
Published: 25 April 2024

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Peninsula adds tanker “Aalborg” to supply bio bunker fuel in Port of Barcelona

Chemical tanker is capable of supplying B100, in contrast to traditional fuel barges that cannot exceed 25% bio component; also has ability to blend multiple bio feedstocks and traditional fuels on board.





Peninsula adds tanker “Aalborg” to supply bio bunker fuel in Port of Barcelona

Marine fuel supplier Peninsula on Wednesday (24 April) announced the introduction of the Aalborg, an IMO II chemical tanker dedicated to sustainable fuel distribution in the Western Mediterranean. 

The Aalborg is capable of supplying 100% biofuels (B100), in contrast to traditional fuel barges that cannot exceed 25% bio component.  

The vessel supplies FAME (Fatty Acid Methyl Esters) produced from vegetable oils and allows for neutral emissions (depending on the origin of these vegetable oils) thereby reducing a receiving vessel’s carbon footprint. 

The Aalborg will play a pivotal role in the Port of Barcelona's ongoing commitment to promoting cleaner fuel initiatives across the region.

The vessel’s ability to blend multiple bio feedstocks and traditional fuels on board, together with a certificate detailing the bio component percentage, allows ship owners to comply with impending Fuel EU Maritime regulation using the same engine.

“The importance of having a biofuel supply vessel permitted to supply up to 100% bio component, will provide Port of Barcelona users with a solution to decarbonise their activity and to fully comply with EU regulations,” explained Lluís Salvadó, president of the Port of Barcelona.

“The Port of Barcelona, as part of its Energy Transition Plan, is committed to transition and alternative fuels such as LNG, green methanol or green ammonia, as well as biofuels, which will help to reduce the maritime sector’s carbon footprint.”

Alejandro Morales Moreno, Supply Manager at Peninsula, emphasised the collaborative efforts between Peninsula and the Port of Barcelona, highlighting a shared vision for emissions reduction.

"The addition of the Aalborg creates a meaningful, new decarbonisation solution for our customers and we’re grateful to the Port Authority for facilitating its deployment in Barcelona,” he said.


Photo credit: Peninsula
Published: 25 April 2024

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Argus Media: New ISO 8217 eyes wider scope for alternative bunker fuels

New edition will incorporate specification standards for a wide range of Fame-based marine biodiesel blends up to B100, 100pc HVO, as well as synthetic and renewable marine fuels.





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The 7th edition of ISO 8217, to be published in the second quarter of this year, will outline a broader integration of marine biodiesel blending, delegates heard at the International Bunker Conference (IBC) 2024 in Norway.

24 April 2024

Tim Wilson, principal specialist fuels of Lloyds Register's fuel oil bunkering analysis and advisory service (FOBAS), presented on the upcoming iteration of the ISO 8217 marine fuel specification standard, which will be released at IBC 2024. 

The new edition will incorporate specification standards for a wide range of fatty acid methyl ester (Fame)-based marine biodiesel blends up to B100, 100pc hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), as well as synthetic and renewable marine fuels. 

This will also include additional clauses to cover a wider scope, and briefly touch on biodiesel specifications that do not entirely align with road biodiesel EN-14214 specifications. This follows the emergence of widening price spreads for marine biodiesel blends because of specification differences and the lack of a marine-specific standard for the blends.

The new edition of ISO 8217 is also expected to remove the limit of 7pc Fame when blended with distillate marine fuels such as marine gasoil (MGO) which was in place in the previous ISO 8217:2017. 

Other changes to distillate marine biodiesel blends include changes to the minimum Cetane Index, oxidation stability alignment to be connected to either ISO 15751 for blends comprising 2pc or more of Fame biodiesel and ISO 12205 for blends comprising a Fame component of under 2pc. 

Cold-filter plugging point (CFPP) properties will be determined by the vessel's fuel storage tanks' heating capabilities and requirements will be set in place to report the CFPP for distillate marine biodiesel grades, according to the new edition of the marine fuel specification standard.

Wilson said that a minimum kinematic viscosity at 50°C will be in place for various forms of residual bunker fuel oil along with a viscosity control alerting suppliers to inform buyers of the exact viscosity in the supplied fuel. He said they have seen delivered fuel viscosity come in at much lower levels than ordered by the buyers, which was the reasoning behind the viscosity control monitoring requirement.

By Hussein Al-Khalisy


Photo credit and source: Argus Media
Published: 25 April 2024

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