Norwegian maritime insurance company Gard on Thursday (22 October) published an article by DNV GL on the challenges, regulations and some solutions for using biodiesel in marine diesel engines as an option to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ships:
Biofuels may not become the zero-carbon solution of choice in the shipping industry’s decarbonization process in the longer term, but could have a significant role to play to accelerate the process. In a recent article DNV GL summarizes the regulatory issues, safety and other operational issues faced by those using these new fuels or fuel blends.
One of numerous possible ways to comply with the IMO’s strategy on the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships is to use biofuels or biofuel blends. Biofuels have very low sulphur levels and low CO2 emissions, as such they are a technically viable solution in meeting some of the current and future emission requirements. However, their NOx emissions might be higher than with fossil diesel oils and another immediate challenge is that the shipping sector still have limited knowledge on handling and applying biofuels as part of their fuel supply.
DNV GL is an independent expert in risk management and quality assurance and a frequent collaborator with Gard in in loss prevention and sustainability projects. We are pleased to re-publish their recent information and advice with respect to the increasing use of biodiesel in bunkers.
Types of biofuel
Regulatory items on biofuels to be observed
MARPOL Annex VI Regulation 18, “Fuel Oil Availability and Qualities”, applies to using both fuels derived from petroleum refining and derived by methods other than petroleum refining, e.g. biodiesel. Note that in this context, synthetic fuels according to EN 15940 are not considered to fall under “fuels oils derived by methods other than petroleum refining.” These synthetic fuels include the subgroups such as Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), Biomass to Liquid (BTL), Gas to Liquid (GTL and Coal to Liquid (CTL) which are different resources converted to fuels though chemical processes.
In the case of biodiesel, the fuel shall, among others, not exceed the applicable sulphur content. Moreover, such fuels shall not cause an engine to exceed the applicable NOx emission limits. Meeting the sulphur limits is normally not a challenge for biofuels, however the NOx emissions might be higher than with fossil diesel oils, due to possibly high oxygen content.
To meet the requirements of MARPOL Annex VI, evidence must be made to confirm that the diesel engine complies with the applicable NOx emission limits (which depend on the keel laying date of the vessel and the operational area) also when biofuels are used for combustion purposes. To demonstrate this, depending on the biofuel used, the evidence may be a challenge and it may require on-board emission testing where the results should be presented in g/kWh (not only concentrations in ppm). Due to the complexity of the required tests, DNV GL recommends performing the emission tests on stationary test beds and offers to assist ship operators with obtaining the required exemption from the flag administration.
DNV GL also advices that, as an alternative to the measurements, and in case it can be proven by either analysis or reference to a known international standard that the emission properties of the biofuel are equivalent to that of conventional diesel, this evidence might act as proof that the biofuel does not cause the engine to exceed the applicable NOx emission limits.
If additional alterations, which are beyond the limits in the approved NOx Technical File, the engine(s) are required to optimize the combustion when using the biofuel, and the NOx Technical File needs to be formally amended.
Technical challenges and solutions
Below is a summary of items to be observed for the use of biofuels and a few words on how to prevent damages on board:
We thank DNV GL for permitting us to share this information with our readers. The original version of this article, with more information about DNV GL’s service offering, can be found on the DNV GL website.
Garren Hay will be responsible for sales of the PANOLIN range of Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants for the Singapore sole distributor agent Gealubes Consulting & Trading Pte Ltd.
Universal Alliance, BMS United, Digiland International, Goodwood Associates, Southernpec (Singapore), and Taigu Energy were involved in alleged circular fictitious trades of fuel oil during July 2015.
Bunker orders of ISO 8217:2010 spec LS 380 cSt 0.5% for Nord Gemini, Nord Titan, Ocean Rosemary, and Luzern were placed through global commodities trading and logistics house Trafigura Pte Ltd.
While Covid-19 concerns are important, Captain Rahul Choudhuri was quick to note this does not mean bunker fuel related issues have indeed disappeared from the shipping sector.
‘Therefore, representing the players of the Malaysian bunker industry, we sincerely hope that this matter can be refined and reconsidered immediately so that all parties benefit together,’ says communication.
Maureen Poh, a Director of Helmsman LLC, offers plain practical tips on the differences between US and EU Sanctions and shares some thoughts on what companies could do if they are potentially exposed to sanctioned entities.