Connect with us

Alternative Fuels

Bio-bunkers are the immediate alternatives to reduce gas emissions, says study

Biodiesel blends, in particular the second-generation renewable diesels such as HVO, could be a serious alternative to VLSFO, suggests Blend Tiger LLC whitepaper.




1 13

The following are extracts from a recently published whitepaper by Eliseo Curcio and Michele Miceli from American fuels blending consulting company Blend Tiger LLC on “Bio-Bunkers: A today alternative to energy transition”, that was supplied to Manifold Times. 

  1. Biodiesel as a main alternative for Bio-Bunker

Biodiesel fuels represent a real alternative to the VLSFO. They have very similar properties compared with fossil-based fuels and shipowners don’t require a massive re-style of their engine system. Everybody can start using them today.

In order to fully understand the biofuel market lets evaluate the pros and cons in depth.

There are two classes of biofuels commercially available and ready to be used:

  • First Generation Bio-diesel which is FAME (Fatty-Acid-Methyl-Ester).

Bio-bunkers are the only immediate alternatives to reduce gas emissions, says study

  • Second Generation or Renewable Diesel meaning everything that is not FAME.

The main difference between Biodiesel and Renewable diesel is the way they are produced. Biodiesel is created through a method called transesterification. Renewable diesel is produced using a method called hydrotreating, which involves hydrogenating triglycerides (fats) to remove metals and compounds containing nitrogen and oxygen. Also, HVO (Hydrotreated vegetable oil) can be classified depending the feedstock adopted.

We will soon have additional large-scale options available in the industry:

-  BIOBASED SYNTHETIC LIQUIDS. It is possible to obtain advanced bio-oils such as Hydrotreated Pyrolysis Oils (HDPOs) through thermochemical processes and Fischer-Tropsch liquids (FT) from the forest and agro-industrial residues. The products of this process are hydrocarbon fractions like those obtained in a refinery, mainly FT-naphtha, with a higher market value compared to fractions suitable for the marine sector for which FT-diesel or FT-gasoil, produced in smaller quantities, are appropriate.

-BIOBASED ALCOHOLS AND LIQUEFIED GASES. The latter group consists of biobased gases and alcohols, including liquefied biomethane (bio-GNL), biomethanol, and bioethanol, which require specially designed engines and infrastructure for their use.   

Bio-bunkers are the only immediate alternatives to reduce gas emissions, says study

Here is an example of a biofuel scheme:

First Generation of Biodiesel (or FAME) has a higher flash point (149°C) and cetane number than conventional diesel, providing good ignition and lubrication properties. However, FAMEs have a high cloud point, which can cause clogged filters and poor fuel flow at temperatures below 32°C.  Their addition reduces smoke, soot, and burnt diesel smell from the engine exhaust. 

The main technical disadvantage of biodiesel over petrol-diesel is the lower thermal energy due to higher oxygen content which also results in lower oxidation stability. Another major concern related to the use of biodiesel is the contamination by water, which results in biofuel decomposition, reducing fuel efficiency, soliciting microbial growth, and accelerating fuel gelation at low temperatures. 

FAME cannot be used at 100% in diesel engines due to the presence of fatty acids that can cause anomalies in currently used diesel engines. For this reason, it is added in a mixture with petrol-diesel between 5-30%, respecting the specifications outlined in the standards: EN 14214 or ASTM D6751.  

There are several standards covering biofuels addressing either technical or sustainability aspects. The ISO 8217:2017, the commercial specification for marine fuels defines requirements for fuel used in marine diesel engines and boilers and their conventional treatment on board (sedimentation, centrifuging, filtering) before use. While this standard did not allow FAME to be blended with regular marine distillate or residual fuels in the past, its sixth edition introduces the DF (Distillate FAME) grades DFA, DFZ and DFB. These grades allow up to 7% of FAME content by volume and are also covered by the European standard EN590. Apart from this aspect, all other parameters of these grades are identical to those of traditional grades. The limitations mentioned above do not apply to HVO, which is classified as a DM (distillate) under the ISO standard, provided that certain conditions are met.

For these reasons our research is highly focused on second generation biofuels, for example HVO. 

Properties of HVO have many more similarities with high quality sulphur free fossil diesel fuel than with FAME. As a matter of fact, the properties of renewable diesel are very similar to the synthetic gas-to-liquid (GTL) diesel fuels. Also, the same analytical methods as used with fossil fuels are valid for renewable diesel.

Some of the strong aspects of HVO are:

  • Highest heating value among conventional biofuels.

Higher energy content compared to FAME, both in MJ/kg and MJ/l.

The heating value of HVO (34.4MJ/l) is substantially higher than that of ethanol (21.2MJ/l).

  • Severe winter and arctic grades available due to the isomerization process.

Cold properties of HVO can be adjusted to meet the local requirements by adjusting the severity of the process or by additional catalytic processing.

“Cold Filter Plugging Point” (CFPP) can go down to -20°C or even -50°C irrespective of the feedstock used. This makes HVO suitable for use during cold winters even in Nordic countries as well as for use as jet fuel.

  • Low density. Sulphur-free and very low aromatics. 

Practically free of metals and ash-forming elements.

  • It behaves in logistics, storage and use like fossil diesel fuel (drop-in fuel).

No issues with: stability, water separation, microbiological growth, impurities causing precipitation above cloud point. They can be used in diesel engines without blend walls or the modifications required for FAME biodiesel.

The amount of HVO produce is growing year after year not only in North America, but around the World. It can be a real alternative to fossil-based fuels:

Bio-bunkers are the only immediate alternatives to reduce gas emissions, says study

HVO price is very volatile and it is classified in three different categories (I, II and III), depending the feedstock utilized to produce it.


The year 2022 is definitely the year where everybody “discovered” renewables and GHG’s threat to Humanity. In the next year, the goal should be to find an alternative fuel to the current VLSFO that brings carbon emissions close to zero and decreases the NOx. Many alternatives have been proposed, from LNG, Hydrogen, Ammonia, Green Methanol and Biofuels. We are exploring a new territory so even the regulations are not clear on what to do and what not to do. The capital investments for new fuels are quite high, and if you are not a multi-billion dollar shipping company, it is very complicated to find the right cash flow to refurbish your current fuel system. For all those reasons, biodiesel blends, in particular the second-generation renewable diesels, HVO, could be a serious alternative to VLSFO. They have very similar properties compared to fossil-fuel based diesel and decrease CO2 and NOx emissions. A healthy percentage of HVO to be used in the blend must take into account prices and properties. New studies highlight the possibility of having HVO 100 wt%, but the price is still relatively high ($2000/ton). Let’s invest in the present. Renewable diesel blends are the immediate solution Worldwide.


Photo credit and source: Blend Tiger LLC
Published: 30 May, 2022

Continue Reading


Marine Fuels 360: Methanol presents easiest path towards maritime decarbonisation, says DNV

Captain Singh was confident the bunkering infrastructure in Singapore will be ready to welcome methanol-fuelled vessels due to the coordinated efforts between various agencies.





Capt Satinder

The use of methanol as a bunker fuel presents the least path of resistance towards maritime decarbonisation, believes the Principal Consultant, Head, Research and Development, Maritime Advisory, SE Asia, Pacific, and India at classification society DNV.

Captain Satinder Singh Virdi was speaking amongst panellists in the Methanol Panel session at Marine Fuels 360 on Tuesday (28 November) when he offered an opinion about reasons behind the increasing awareness of methanol as a marine fuel.

“The ease of adopting methanol is perhaps one of the reasons. The product exists as a liquid at ambient temperature and has been carried on vessels for the last 80 years, so it is not something new,” he stated.

“What is new is we're going to use methanol as a bunker fuel. Ease of adoption, ESG compliance, as well as getting closer to decarbonisation goals are the drivers for shipowners adopting methanol.”

According to Captain Singh, the trend for methanol-fuelled newbuildings have continued in October where DNV’s Alternative Fuels Insight (AFI) platform recorded 230 vessels on order where 156 comprises of containerships.

“The trend started when Maersk increased their newbuild order of methanol-fuelled vessels; before that it was mostly LNG as an alternate fuel,” he said.

Captain Singh was confident the bunkering infrastructure in Singapore will be ready to welcome methanol-fuelled vessels due to the coordinated efforts between the Singapore Shipping Association, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation, and other organisations.

“We are all working together to support Singapore’s future maritime operations. Singapore is an international maritime centre, and we want to establish ourselves as the leading maritime city,” he explained.

“I would call this a cohesive action by all relevant partners, such as shipowners, charterers, classification societies, ship managers, bunker testing firms, mass flow meter manufacturers, bunkering companies, and more.

“It is important for Singapore to be seen as a fair supporter of bunkering in terms of reliability and reputation, and if things go wrong actions are taken very strictly to ensure transparency and quality. So, in that way I am satisfied to say that ‘yes’ we have what it takes to make methanol bunkering happen.”

Related: DNV: Methanol-fuelled order trend continues, with first ammonia DF newbuilding contracts recorded in Oct
Related: Maersk invests USD 700.3 million for additional four methanol-fuelled container newbuilds

Other related: Singapore: Equatorial Marine Fuel builds four “new generation” methanol-ready bunker tankers
Other related: MPA: Due diligence carried out prior to recent Singapore methanol bunkering pilot
Other related: VPS completes quantity survey on Singapore’s first methanol bunkering op
Other related: The Methanol Institute: Singapore takes first-mover advantage in Asia with methanol bunkering pilot
Other related: Singapore bunkering sector enters milestone with first methanol marine refuelling op
Other related: Singapore gets ready for its first methanol bunkering this week after one year preparation
Other related: The Methanol Institute: Singapore takes first-mover advantage in Asia with methanol bunkering pilot

Photo credit: Informa
Published: 6 November 2023

Continue Reading


Höegh Autoliners, Sumitomo to collaborate on ammonia bunker fuel supply for PCTCs in Singapore, Jacksonville

Duo will embark on a comprehensive evaluation of the compatibility between Höegh Autoliners PCTC newbuilds and ammonia bunkering facilities at the identified bunker ports.





Höegh Autoliners, Sumitomo to collaborate on ammonia bunker fuel supply for PCTCs in Singapore, Jacksonville

Norway-based pure Car and Truck Carriers (PCTCs) vessel owner and operator Höegh Autoliners on Tuesday (5 December) said it has agreed with Sumitomo Corporation to look into the supply of clean ammonia as a bunker fuel at the ports of Singapore and Jacksonville, USA from 2027 onwards.

The two companies have formalised their commitment through a Letter of Intent to collaborate on the supply and delivery of clean ammonia as a next-generation sustainable maritime fuel for Höegh Autoliners’ upcoming Aurora Class PCTC vessels. 

The twelve vessels are set to become the largest and most eco-friendly car carriers ever built and they will have the capability to run on zero-carbon ammonia or carbon neutral methanol. 

“The Letter of Intent symbolises a remarkable step in the realisation and development of the production and consumption of clean maritime fuels. The collaboration hopes to stimulate the upscaling of the supply and demand of clean ammonia for maritime usage,” Höegh Autoliners said in a statement. 

Both companies view clean ammonia as a promising future fuel for the maritime industry, offering substantial potential in addressing the challenges associated with greenhouse gas emissions in global shipping. 

To support this vision, both entities have launched a range of initiatives throughout the ammonia value chain, with a primary focus on making clean ammonia a viable choice for maritime fuel and thereby achieving significant reductions in emissions from the global shipping sector.

Moving forward, the companies will embark on a comprehensive evaluation of the compatibility between the PCTC vessels and the ammonia bunkering facilities at the identified bunker ports. 

They endeavour to make necessary adjustments to specifications for both “shore-to-ship” and “ship-to-ship” bunkering operations and undertake safety assessments to establish standardised operational protocols and regulations in close coordination with pertinent government agencies.

Photo credit: Höegh Autoliners
Published: 6 December, 2023

Continue Reading

Alternative Fuels

CENIT and Hinicio to explore feasibility of zero-carbon bunkers in Colombia

Mission is to explore the feasibility of producing, storing, supplying, and exporting zero-carbon bunker fuels at strategic port locations in Colombia, says centre.





Luis Desiro on Unsplash

The Centre for Innovation in Transport (CENIT) on Tuesday (5 December) said it was teaming up with Hinicio, a strategy consulting firm focused on sustainable energy and mobility, for a project funded by The World Bank in Colombia.

CENIT said their mission was to explore the feasibility of producing, storing, supplying, and exporting zero-carbon bunker fuels at strategic port locations in Colombia.

“The shipping industry is poised to become a major demand centre for zero-carbon fuels, particularly green hydrogen-based options like green ammonia and green methanol,” CENIT said in a social media post. 

“And it will play a pivotal role in transporting these zero-carbon fuels from emerging production hubs in Latin America to high-demand centres in Europe and East Asia.”

“This project takes us a step closer to decarbonising ports and fostering a sustainable future for maritime transportation.”

Photo credit: Luis Desiro on Unsplash
Published: 6 December, 2023

Continue Reading
  • SBF2
  • Aderco advert 400x330 1
  • v4Helmsman Gif Banner 01
  • Consort advertisement v2
  • EMF banner 400x330 slogan
  • RE 05 Lighthouse GIF


  • Triton Bunkering advertisement v2
  • Singfar advertisement final
  • Nunchi Marine 370x150 banner
  • HL 2022 adv v1
  • 102Meth Logo GIF copy

  • UniFuels light sq
  • SMS Logo v2
  • intrasea
  • Energe Logo
  • Central Star logo
  • MFA logo v2
  • pro liquid
  • Victory Logo
  • Trillion Energy
  • Manifoldtimes LogoAdv 300x300px
  • VPS 2021 advertisement
  • Advert Shipping Manifold resized1
  • 400x330 v2 copy
  • Headway Manifold