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Chimbusco Pan Nation completes first bio bunker fuel supply for boxship in Hong Kong

Firm successfully supplied over 2,000 mt of ISCC-Eu certified UCOME-based B24 marine biofuel to Maersk container line vessel “GSL Kithira”.




Chimbusco Pan Nation completes first bio bunker fuel supply for boxship in Hong Kong

Hong Kong-based marine fuel oil supplier Chimbusco Pan Nation Petro-chemical Co., Ltd (CPN) on Wednesday (22 November 2023) successfully supplied over 2,000 metric tonnes (mt) of ISCC-Eu certified UCOME-based B24 marine biofuel to a A.P. Moller - Maersk container line vessel, GSL Kithira.

The firm said the bunkering operation marked the first B24 biofuel supply in Hong Kong for container line vessels, as well as the first one with more than 2,000 mt, setting a new standard in the region’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

“This pioneering move further steered CPN’s leadership in Hong Kong market with its adoption of cleaner, more sustainable alternative fuel within the maritime industry,” the firm said in a statement.

“B24 marine biofuel is a blend of 24% B100 biodiesel and Marine Fuel Oil, which significantly reduces carbon emissions and lowers its carbon footprint. Such product aligns with global efforts to combat climate change and reducing environmental impact.”

The firm added the cooperation on marine biofuel supply between Maersk and CPN in Hong Kong is expected to pave the way for a more widespread adoption of eco-friendly alternative fuels in the maritime industry. 

“This successful supply operation also underlines CPN’s role as a frontrunner in the transition towards more sustainable marine fuel options,” it said. 

CPN added it will continue to explore and expand its capabilities in marine biofuel solutions and that this initiative serves as a clear indicator of CPN’s potential to handle larger volumes and more diverse types of sustainable alternative marine fuels in the future.

Photo credit: Chimbusco Pan Nation Petro-chemical
Published: 23 November, 2023

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Singapore: GCMD studies FAME biofuel degradation in bunker supply chains

Latest report by GCMD, which tracked quality of FAME and FAME blends across maritime supply chain, found that trials detected no significant degradation of FAME under commercial operations conditions.





Singapore: GCMD studies FAME biofuel degradation in commercial and storage conditions

The Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD) on Tuesday (18 June) announced the release of its latest report,aimed to shed light on its findings from tracking the quality of FAME and FAME blends as they make their way through the supply chains and on consumption onboard vessels.

GCMD said Fatty Acid Methyl Esters (FAME), a readily available biofuel, is gaining attention as an immediate solution to comply with EU and IMO regulations.

FAME use in major bunkering hubs Singapore and Rotterdam has risen from being negligible in 2020 to a combined 1 million metric tonnes (mt) of FAME blends in 2023.

“Unlike conventional marine fuels, FAME-based biofuels can be unstable since its natural oils and fats can slowly oxidise when exposed to atmospheric oxygen,” it said. 

When oxidation happens, FAME can degrade to produce by-products, like peroxides, alcohols, and sludge, all of which can impact engine life and performance. Degradation can also be further accelerated by exposure to water, impurities, contaminants, light, and heat.

The report, titled Tracking the propensity of biofuels degradation across the maritime supply chain, sheds light on a crucial question: Does FAME degrade significantly under actual commercial and storage conditions in the marine supply chains, hindering its potential as a widespread decarbonisation solution?  

Key insights and takeaways

 Encouragingly, GCMD said end-to-end supply chain trials detected no significant degradation of FAME under commercial operations conditions.

“These findings offer strong support for FAME use in the marine fuels supply chain,” it said. 

The report elaborates how the team traced the properties of FAME and FAME blends, and tracked the parameters of FAME quality, namely acid value, viscosity, FAME content, energy content and microbial contamination, of samples at different points along the supply chain to come to this conclusion.

What the report covers

  • Understanding the propensity of degradation of FAME
  • Tracing FAME quality in GCMD’s end-to-end supply chains
  • Understanding the current ISO specifications for FAME quality requirements
  • Contextualising GCMD’s findings per ISO specifications

The report is co-authored by Dr. Prapisala Thepsithar, Director of Projects, and Dr. Sanjay Kuttan, Chief Strategy Officer, at GCMD. 

It has also been reviewed by industry leaders: Dr. Malcolm Cooper, CEO of VPS, Captain Rahul Choudhuri, President, Strategic Partnerships, VPS and Ms. Monique Vermeire, Fuels Technologist at Chevron.

In a social media post, Capt. Rahul Choudhuri, President Strategic Partnerships, said: “VPS is very proud to have supported the Global Centre of Maritime Decarbonization (GCMD) in this vitally important work of understanding the nature of Biofuels Degradation.”

VPS said the biofuels study showed levels of fuel degradation in a real-world environment. Whereas the trials indicated no degradation of the Biofuels over the nominated transportation section & supply to the vessel

Note: The report titled ‘Tracking the propensity of biofuels degradation across the maritime supply chain’ can be found here


Photo credit: Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation
Published: 19 June 2024

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FOBAS highlights publication of CIMAC biofuel guidance document

CIMAC WG7 (Fuels) in support of adopting recently published ISO 8217:2024 marine fuel standard, has released a biofuel guidance document and an FAQ document on ISO 8217:2024 standard.





RESIZED Hans Reniers on Unsplash

Lloyd’s Register Fuel Oil Bunkering Analysis and Advisory Service (FOBAS) on Saturday (15 June) released a bulletin to highlight the publication of a biofuel guidance document by CIMAC WG7 (Fuels) following the recently published ISO 8217:2024 marine fuel standard:

Further to our last bulletin, please note that CIMAC WG7 (Fuels) in support of adopting recently published ISO 8217:2024 marine fuel standard, has released a biofuel guidance document titled ‘Marine fuels containing FAME; A guideline for shipowners and operators’ and an FAQ document on ISO 8217:2024 standard.

The focus of biofuel CIMAC guideline is onboard operations when using blends of FAME (Fatty Acid Methyl Ester) up to B100 i.e., 100% FAME allowed as per ISO 8217:2024. The document has been divided into various sections with detailed commentary on topics such as sustainability, production/specifications of FAME, onboard operational considerations, quality assessment methods outlined in ISO 8217:2024, and finally a short discussion on unestablished and/or recycled biofuels.

The FAQ document on ISO 8217:2024 helps to addresses important questions and changes made compared to the previous versions such as increasing the number of tables from two to four, inclusion of FAME based biofuels and certain test methods etc.

Please note that CIMAC is expected to release a few more documents in coming weeks to support ISO 8217:2024 standard which include ‘Overview and interpretation of total sediment test results in the context of ISO 8217:2024’, ‘Design and operation of fuel cleaning systems for diesel engines’ and ‘The interpretation of marine fuel analysis test results’. 

We intend to issue another bulletin to announce the release of these documents.

Related: FOBAS announces publication of ISO 8217:2024 marine fuel specifications and FAQs
Related: CIMAC Working Group Fuels publishes first of five guidelines supporting release of ISO 8217:2024


Photo credit: Hans Reniers on Unsplash
Published: 18 June 2024

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ENGINE: Q&A on biofuel bunkering with FincoEnergies

ENGINE spoke to FincoEnergies commercial director Johannes Schurmann to explore some of the more pressing questions and challenges around bio bunker fuels for bunkering.





A GoodFuels barge delivering a marine biofuel stem to Eagle Bulk’s bulk carrier Sydney Eagle during its call in the Dutch port of Terneuzen in in December 2021. GoodFuels
A GoodFuels barge delivering a marine biofuel stem to Eagle Bulk’s bulk carrier Sydney Eagle during its call in the Dutch port of Terneuzen in in December 2021. GoodFuels
  • The unexpected benefit from tricky biofuel tracers
  • New document could unbreak the chain of sustainability
  • Triple-stacked regulations and rebates to spur fresh biofuel demand
  • Shying away from unfamiliar bio price indexes can be risky

Marine biofuel specialist FincoEnergies has been in the ARA market for several years and established itself as perhaps the world’s biggest supplier of biofuel blends to ships.

Countless shipping firms have grabbed news headlines through trialling GoodFuels’ biofuels supplied by FincoEnergies to their ships. Various feedstocks have been tried and tested, with differences in performances and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction potentials recorded.

ENGINE spoke to FincoEnergies commercial director Johannes Schurmann to explore some of the more pressing questions and challenges around biofuels for bunkering. Have there been a lot of teething issues so far, where are we now, and what will a more GHG-regulated marine fuel future look like?

The answers below are highlights from the conversation. Click here to download the full interview or email Johannes Schurmann or Erik Hoffmann.

Erik Hoffmann (EH): We are seeing a wide range of price levels from various biofuel bunker suppliers in the Netherlands. These are given either for fuels based on feedstocks such as cashew nut shell liquid (CNSL), palm oil mill effluent (POME) or used cooking oil (UCO), which have different properties. Are there major differences in the performances of these fuels?

Johannes Schurmann (JS): If you look at POME and UCO, those are indeed different feedstocks that can have different properties. But it’s not a given that they have different properties. POME is of course a waste product from the palm oil industry, but UCO could also be a waste product from palm oil.

We have quite some clients that want solely used cooking oil methyl ester (UCOME), which is biodiesel made from UCO, because they believe they have engine acceptance for UCOME. But in the end, it's impossible to prove that physical UCO ended up in the biodiesel. Only if you control the entire supply chain you could say ok, the physical UCO ended up in the biodiesel.

It’s very hard to base the quality of the biodiesel on the original feedstock if we are working with waste-based products.

CNSL is a totally different ball game. It's a fuel that we don’t have much data about. We know that it has been used for some years in fuel oil blends. Some shipping companies are testing it, but there are also some nasty stories about all kinds of problems that occur with this product.

If you look at the composition of CNSL, it's composed of mainly carbonyls and anacardic acids, and those are different from the fatty acids that we are well known in biodiesels.

It could be an interesting product for the future because there are quite some volumes available. It's much cheaper than the biodiesels that we see today, but from a technical side, there are still quite some challenges that we need to overcome. So to just start using it because it fits in the ISO 8217 specification, that is too easily said.

EH: POME should not be confused with virgin palm oil, but how can a shipowner know that a POME-based biofuel is actually POME and not something else?

JS: We have been looking at POME for a while. In the Netherlands we have worked with this Dutch HBE [hernieuwbare brandstofeenheden] system, that does allow certain feedstocks to be used for international shipping if they are eligible for those HBEs, those bio tickets. And 2-3 years ago, they narrowed down the feedstock list which pushed us towards POME.

We didn't use it before because we were scared of this “palm” word in the feedstock, and if you can use UCO or tallow, why look at POME? Due to the legislation we had to look at POME.

What we did was first looking at where is this POME coming from? It’s mainly coming from Southeast Asia – Malaysia for example, Indonesia as well. To prove that the POME is really a waste product, we need to rely fully on the ISCC [International Sustainability & Carbon Certification]. The ISCC is certifying basically all the parties in the chain, including the ones producing POME.

And when the auditors visit sites that are producing POME, they are checking whether those sites are actually increasing or decreasing the amount of POME that they produce on a yearly basis. They say you cannot produce more than you did in previous years. Those auditors are really looking to make sure that you are not purposely producing POME. We think that this is a good mechanism.

A better way to check that they're not purposely producing POME is to see whether they even have a financial incentive to produce POME. And what we have done over the past years is that we have checked the POME price, so the raw feedstock, compared to palm oil.

What you see is that most of the time, not always but most of the time, the price of palm oil is higher than the price of POME. If the price of palm oil is higher than the price of POME, then for the producers of POME, there is no incentive to optimise the waste products rather than their premium product, which is palm oil.

EH: You have been looking into various ways of tracking feedstocks…Are either physical and blockchain tracers being used to guarantee that a biofuel’s origin and supply chain is what it says on the Proof of Sustainability (PoS)?

JS: Setting up a chain where a lot of mass balancing is done on paper, and setting up a chain with a physical tracer in there is extremely hard because you need to put tracers in all the big pools of feedstocks. You need to be able to track them to the vessel with a bunker sample for example, including what the dilution is of each tracer that you put in the original feedstocks.

Then you need to link those together - the tracers you find in the bunker sample and the tracers you've put in the original feedstock. In reality, we see that it is insanely hard to organise that. And it is quite costly because you need to physically put tracers in all those feedstocks. Because they're coming from all over the world, it's quite costly to organise that. From a physical side, we are not yet convinced that such a system would work.

GoodFuels tested isotopic tracers as a 'unique fingerprint' in a biofuel stem delivered to a Norden-owned tanker in 2022. GoodFuels

GoodFuels tested isotopic tracers as a 'unique fingerprint' in a biofuel stem delivered to a Norden-owned tanker in 2022. GoodFuels

The only benefit we found during trials, is that onboard the ships you have many different fuel tanks, and to have a tracer in the bunkers that you actually supplied to the ship could be beneficial because then onboard you can prove that if some problems occur, for example with the separator or in the engine, you can prove whether it was your fuel or not that led to a problem.

Regarding the digital tracers, we have been looking into blockchain solutions already for years. But we also see that this ISCC chain is quite solid. In Europe, we will start working with the Union Database soon. It’s a European-wide database for all biofuel streams and everybody participating in the European schemes will need to fill in their mass balance in that system, so that they can basically keep track of all movements of biofuels.

If you at some point adopt such a system globally, that would be very strong, but it's definitely a good start that we have this unified database in Europe. I would say such a database is stronger than if we had worked independently as companies with blockchain technologies.

EH: Rotterdam’s total bio-blended bunker sales surged from 301,000 mt in 2021 to 791,000 mt in 2022, but then they unexpectedly dipped to 751,000 mt last year. Why was there a declining trend?

JS: It's based on multiple factors. And what we have seen, and we think has the biggest impact, is that Singapore biofuel bunker sales spiked a lot. There has been some movement away from the Netherlands to Singapore. Of course, what we also see in the Netherlands is that general bunker fuel consumption declined year-over-year from 2022 to 2023. The share of biofuel, or at least the absolute consumption of biofuel, went down in those years. And fossil as well.

Rotterdam and Singapore bio bunker sales to Q1 2024

We see a tendency that LNG has better economics. I think the LNG business has had quite some tough years in 2022-2023, and in 2021 as well a bit. But we see a lot of new vessels with LNG engines. We see that the LNG business is getting more traction again. So that is definitely an impact.

And maybe the last impact is that in the early years of biofuel adoption, especially in 2022, there were a lot of cargo owners pushing biofuel consumption because they wanted to decarbonise their supply chains in shipping.

Since last year, and especially this year, we have seen some economic headwinds. We see that there is less interest from cargo owners to pay extra for sustainable supply chains. Therefore we are lacking a push from the cargo owner side to bunker more sustainable fuels. We know from a lot of our customers that they are struggling to sell the emission reductions of their consumed biofuels to their cargo owners.


Photo credit: GoodFuels and ENGINE
Published: 18 June 2024

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