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FOBAS: MARPOL Annex VI and the use of Marine Biofuels

FOBAS recommends ship operators intending to use biofuels or biofuel blends should obtain confirmation from relevant flag State if they will be following the new UI.

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Lloyd’s Register Fuel Oil Bunkering Analysis and Advisory Service (FOBAS) on Monday (15 August) released a bulletin responding to numerous questions on the approved a Unified Interpretation (UI) in relation to use of biofuels and how to now proceed to use these biofuels:

Many ship operators over the last few years have been looking at the possibility of using one or the other marine biofuel grades being offered, either as a straight replacement fuel or supplied as a blend component with conventional petroleum derived residual or distillate products; typically, at ratios between 20-50%.

However, a major impediment to this biofuel usage in any form has been the requirement under regulation 18.3.2.2 of MARPOL Annex VI that:

‘... fuel oil for combustion purposes derived by methods other than petroleum refining shall not cause an engine to exceed the applicable NOx emission limit set forth in paragraphs 3, 4, 5.11 and 7.4 of regulation 13....’

This has necessitated applications in each instance for an exemption from the flag State to undertake the necessary biofuel trials onboard which of course have had to cover not just the basic functionality of using those fuels but also the determination of NOx emissions in accordance with the relevant provisions of the NOx Technical Code 2008 – a complex and time-consuming task with which FOBAS has been assisting a number of ship operators with trial supporting services. A summary of findings to date was issued earlier this year.

In June MEPC 78 approved a Unified Interpretation (UI) in relation to the use of biofuels – paragraph 13 in the updated consolidated IMO Circular MEPC.1/Circ,795/Rev.6. However, FOBAS has received numerous questions on both this UI itself and how to now proceed where there is the intention to use these biofuels; either as a replacement fuel or as a blend component. To answer these points FOBAS has advised as follows as regards the meaning of this UI:

  • Biofuel blends of 30% by volume or less should simply be considered as conventional petroleum derived fuels
  • For biofuels and biofuel blends of more than 30% by volume, if NOx critical components and settings / operational values are as required by an engine’s Technical File then NOx emission trials should not be required
  • For non-petroleum derived fuels other than biofuels the provisions of regulation 18.3.2.2 continue to apply.

In this it is important to note that this is a UI which Administrations are ‘invited to apply’, the actual text of MARPOL Annex VI has not been amended.

Consequently, FOBAS would recommend that ship operators now intending to use biofuels or biofuel blends should obtain confirmation from the relevant flag State that they will be following the guidance provided by this UI and that NOx emission trials would not be required on the basis that the engines in which that fuel is to be used will be retained in a NOx compliant condition.

Equally, ship operators with existing flag States acceptances as the use of restricted biofuel blends, should obtain confirmation that, if so required, higher ratios of biofuels could now be used without the need for further NOx emission trials.

LR FOBAS support

  • FOBAS is able to continue to offer a full range of NOx emission trial support services covering the planning, risk assessments, performance calculation and reporting as may be required where ship operators still intend to undertake such trials as part of an ‘in-house’ performance assessment.
  • Furthermore, FOBAS offers a comprehensive biofuel quality analysis programme to sufficiently characterise the biofuels ensuring trouble free operations onboard.

Related: IBIA: Boost for biofuels as IMO removes regulatory hurdle

 

Photo credit: Louis Reed from Unsplash
Published: 16 August, 2022

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Biofuel

PIL vessel in bio bunker fuel trial transports containers with PSA Singapore

Containers, bound for Mitsui Chemicals Asia Pacific’s beneficial cargo owner, were transported via PIL’s vessel “Kota Ratna” and PSA’s coastal terminal and rail nodes in Singapore, Qinzhou and Chongqing.

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PIL transports containers using bio bunker fuel in trial with PSA Singapore

PSA Singapore (PSA) and Pacific International Lines (PIL) on Wednesday (29 May) announced the completion of their first trial of low-carbon green shipments, in a joint effort to build a more sustainable end-to-end supply chain ecosystem.

This pilot trial is part of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in October last year between the two long-standing partners to collaborate on green and sustainability solutions to decarbonise supply chains. 

The pilot consists of warehouse-to-warehouse cargo flow from Singapore to Chongqing via the International Land-Sea Trade Corridor. The containers, bound for Mitsui Chemicals Asia Pacific, Ltd’s beneficial cargo owner, were transported via PIL’s vessel Kota Ratna and PSA’s coastal terminal and rail nodes in Singapore, Qinzhou and Chongqing.

Green levers utilised in this pilot include the use of biofuel on Kota Ratna as well as landside supply chain optimisation by PSA.

The biofuel used for this trial, a blend of 24% used cooking oil with very low sulphur fuel oil, abated about 100 tonnes of carbon, equivalent to planting 4000 trees, and reduced the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) by 84.1%.

With first-hand data on carbon emissions obtained from this pilot trial, PIL will be better equipped to assess how it can further lower emissions from its vessel operations, not just for its existing ships but also for its eight new LNG dual-fuel container vessels that will be progressively delivered from end 2024.

The PSA Port Ecosystem Business Division leveraged container barging, a greener mode of transportation as compared to trucking, to haul cargo from PSA Jurong Island Terminal to Pasir Panjang Terminal for onward shipment towards Chongqing. 

In addition, the use of container handling equipment powered by electricity and greener alternative fuels at PSA’s ports reduced emissions in the port area.

The collaborative efforts by both partners across the end-to-end supply chain translated to planting one tree for every laden container moved across this value chain.

Philbert Chua, Managing Director, Container Division, PSA Corporation Ltd, said, “The successful completion of this green pilot project with PIL is an important step forward for the maritime and supply chain sector.”

“Combating climate change is one of our urgent priorities and PSA is committed to work with like-minded partners to put these words into action.”

“This concerted teamwork illustrates a step-by-step measurable approach to further decarbonise supply chains and has unlocked opportunities for accelerated action to achieve our net zero goal.”

Abhishek Chawla, Chief Marine Officer, PIL, said, “PIL is pleased to receive promising results from this low-carbon green shipments pilot trial with PSA.”

“With sustainability at the core of PIL’s operations, we are happy to join forces with PSA as we take concrete action to drive a sustainable future. The valuable insights obtained from this trial will empower PIL to further reduce our vessel emissions in the future, as part of our goal of achieving net zero by 2050.”

“Working hand in hand with like-minded partners, we can augment each other’s sustainability efforts in creating greener shipping and providing a sustainable net zero model to our customers soon.”

 

Photo credit: PSA Singapore
Published: 30 May 2024

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Alternative Fuels

China: Chimbusco, Suzhou Fengbei Biotechnology to conduct bio bunker fuel research

Both parties will comprehensively promote the use of biodiesel in the bunker fuel market and contribute to green and low-carbon shipping.

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China: Chimbusco, Suzhou Fengbei Biotechnology to conduct bio bunker fuel research

China Marine Bunker (Petro China) Co., Ltd. (Chimbusco) and Suzhou Fengbei Biotechnology Co., Ltd. on Thursday (23 May) signed a strategic cooperation agreement to jointly carry out research on the application of marine biofuels and promote pilot projects on the application of biodiesel. 

Both parties will comprehensively promote the use of biodiesel in the bunker fuel market and contribute to green and low-carbon shipping.

Suzhou Fengbei Biotechnology Co., Ltd. has long been committed to the research and development of comprehensive utilisation of natural oil resources, forming an oil resource recycling industry chain of "industrial oils-biofuels (biodiesel)-biobased materials". 

Qin Ling, secretary of the Party Committee and general manager of Chimbusco said with the implementation of increasingly stringent emissions laws and regulations, the company is actively responding to and adapting to domestic development needs. 

“Through strategic cooperation, the company is locking in the future demand for biofuels,” he said. 

Pingyuan, chairman of Suzhou Fengbei Biotechnology Co., Ltd. said that both firms will rely on their respective advantages and resources and seize new opportunities for carbon reduction in shipping. 

Disclaimer: The above article published by Manifold Times was sourced from China’s domestic market through a local correspondent. While considerable efforts have been taken to verify its accuracy through a professional translator and processed from sources believed to be reliable, no warranty is made regarding the accuracy, completeness and reliability of any information.

 

Photo credit: Zhangjiagang Bonded Zone (Jingang sub-district) Party and Government Office
Published: 30 May 2024

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Wind-assisted

MOL to install wind propulsion system on seven newbuildings

MOL has measured the performance of the Wind Challenger on a vessel “Shofu Maru” continuously on actual voyages and confirmed Wind Challenger sail reduced daily fuel consumption by up to 17%.

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MOL to install wind propulsion system on seven newbuildings

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL) and its group company MOL Drybulk Ltd. on Monday (27 May) announced their intent to install wind propulsion systems on a total of seven newbuilding bulk carriers and multi-purpose vessels, which will be operated by MOL Drybulk. 

MOL has measured the performance of the Wind Challenger on a vessel Shofu Maru continuously on actual voyages and confirmed that the Wind Challenger sail reduced daily fuel consumption by up to 17%.

The fuel saving and GHG reduction effect of the Wind Challenger depends on various conditions such as the type of vessel and the shipping route.

MOL Group will have a total of nine Wind Challenger-equipped vessels, bringing the total number of vessels equipped with wind propulsion systems to 11.

Among the seven vessels to be equipped with wind propulsion systems, six new bulk carriers will each be equipped with one Wind Challenger. Construction contracts have already been signed with Oshima Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. for three of the six vessels, and preparations are under way for construction contracts for the remaining three vessels.

In addition, MOL Drybulk has decided to install two Ventfoils, a foldable and autonomous unit for wind-assisted ship propulsion, manufactured by Dutch firm EconoWind B.V., on one of its new multipurpose vessels slated for delivery 2025 and operation under a time charter.

MOL has established the "MOL Group Environmental Vision 2.2" and has set the target of achieving net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. One of the key strategies to achieve this target includes the "introduction of clean energy, further energy-saving technologies," and the group plans to launch 25 vessels equipped with the Wind Challenger by 2030 and 80 vessels by 2035.

 

Photo credit: Mitsui O.S.K. Lines
Published: 30 May 2024

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