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GCMD-led consortium completes trials of sustainable biofuel bunker supply chains

Supply chain trials encompassed tracing biofuels from their production sites outside Singapore, to Singapore where the marine fuels were blended and bunkered.

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The Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD) on Tuesday (21 February) said it has successfully completed trialling two supply chains of biofuel blends sourced from different origins. 

The supply chain trials encompassed tracing biofuels from their production sites outside Singapore, to Singapore where the fuels were blended and bunkered. Lab testing of the fuels continued until they were consumed onboard. These trials took place from 31 October 2022–15 February 2023 and involved five vessels; approximately 4,700 MT of sustainable biofuel blends were bunkered, the last batch of which will be consumed by end of February.

Operationalising the trials together with our project partners

Two sustainable biofuel blends were used in our trials. One is Used Cooking Oil Methyl Ester (UCOME), a type of Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME), blended with Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil (VLSFO); the other is UCOME blended with High Sulphur Fuel Oil (HSFO). The UCOME used in both biofuel blends is produced from residue or feedstocks labelled 100% waste and is ISCC certified.

In the first supply chain, Chevron provided B24 VLSFO (24% biofuel blend) to CMA CGM Maupassant and MOL Endowment, the latter a vessel operated by ONE. Additionally, Chevron bunkered B20 HSFO (20% biofuel blend) in its own Singapore Voyager and in Elizabeth I.A. that is owned by Angelicoussis Group and managed by its oil tanker shipping unit, Maran Tankers Shipmanagement. In a separate supply chain, TotalEnergies Marine Fuels provided B24 VLSFO to Lycaste Peace that is owned by NYK and chartered to Astomos Energy Corporation.

GCMD as a neutral convenor

The supply chain trials were undertaken under business-as-usual conditions in which individual fuel purchasers nominated their fuel suppliers of choice, and bunkering took place with vessels on commercial routes. GCMD brought together marine fuel purchasers and suppliers, and balanced the dynamic needs of the many diverse stakeholders, vessel schedules, equipment and asset availabilities, spanning geographies and factoring in contingencies to complete the two supply chain trials. Alongside, GCMD coordinated with the surveyors, tracer technology and laboratory test providers to enable end-to-end tracing of biofuels during these trials. Collaborating and sharing transparently with willing project partners enabled these trials to take place successfully despite the complexities of the marine fuel supply chain and uncertainties in bunkering operations.

First announced at the end of July 2022, the full pilot involves 19 industry partners, with 13 vessels spanning the container, tanker, and bulker segments bunkering in Singapore and Rotterdam. The completed trials represent two of the five supply chains in the full pilot, which aims to establish an assurance framework for the supply chain of sustainable biofuels. This framework, to be further developed by GCMD and its partners, will also provide emissions abatement assurance for future synthetic and bio-derived drop-in fuels.

Ensuring traceability of sustainable biofuels supply chains

To ensure transparency and integrity of the supply chains for biofuels and biofuel blends from end-to-end, GCMD deployed a range of tracing techniques, including dosing with physical tracers, fingerprinting, and deploying a lock-and-seal methodology, all of which were complemented with laboratory testing and analyses at numerous pre-determined points from fuel production to consumption. The strong collaboration GCMD fostered with the marine fuel suppliers and purchasers ensured that the physical tracers were added, and biofuels and their blends were sampled as planned. This important partnership also allowed collection of shipboard samples and data along voyages so GHG emissions can be appropriately quantified. In addition, VPS witnessed the biofuel bunkering operations at all stages from source to supply, and conducted extensive laboratory tests to assess the quality of the biofuel and their blends. 

On lessons learned with the completion of two supply chain trials, Dr. Prapisala Thepsithar, director of projects at GCMD and project lead on this drop-in fuel assurance pilot, said: “Through these trials, we have gained a better appreciation of the complexities of real-world operations. We have learned the hard lesson that not all tracing techniques are directly applicable for tracing sustainable biofuels as they stand, and we are currently undertaking efforts to refine their deployment. I am grateful for the support from and flexibility of our project partners in overcoming the roadblocks encountered during our trials. These learnings will inform our subsequent trials in the months ahead.”

Over the three months during which the trials took place, the quality of the biofuel blends remained stable. With the data collected from the completed trials and additional data to be collected from the three other supply chains, GCMD is working with Boston Consulting Group (BCG), one of its Impact Partners, to develop a robust framework for GHG accounting and conduct cost-benefit analysis of deploying biofuels.

On GCMD completing its trials for two supply chains of sustainable biofuels, Dr. Sanjay Kuttan, CTO of the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation, said: “The lack of assurance on the quality, quantity and emissions abatement of biofuels is a painpoint we identified from interviewing more than 100 industry stakeholders. These trials were curated to address this gap. In developing a framework to provide transparency and bolster the integrity of the biofuels supply chain, we hope to increase user confidence and decrease the barrier for wider adoption.”

 

Photo credit: Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation
Published: 21 February, 2023

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Wind-assisted

Singapore: EPS orders its first wind-assisted propulsion system for tanker

Firm signed a contract for its first ever wind-assisted propulsion system, partnering with bound4blue to install three 22-metre eSAILs® onboard “Pacific Sentinel”.

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Singapore: EPS orders its first wind-assisted propulsion system for tanker

Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) on Thursday (22 February) said it signed a contract for its first ever wind-assisted propulsion system, partnering with bound4blue to install three 22-metre eSAILs® onboard the Pacific Sentinel

The turnkey ‘suction sail’ technology, which drags air across an aerodynamic surface to generate exceptional propulsive efficiency, will be fitted later this year, helping the 183-metre, 50,000 DWT oil and chemical tanker reduce overall energy consumption by approximately 10%, depending on vessel routing.

Suitable for both newbuilds and retrofit projects, the system delivers energy efficiency and cost savings for a broad range of vessels, regardless of their size and age.

Singapore: EPS orders its first wind-assisted propulsion system for tanker

José Miguel Bermudez, CEO and co-founder at bound4blue, said: “Signing an agreement with an industry player of the scale and reputation of EPS not only highlights the growing recognition of wind-assisted propulsion as a vital solution for maximising both environmental and commercial benefits, but also underscores the confidence industry leaders have in our proven technology.”

“It’s exciting to secure our first contract in Singapore, particularly with EPS, a company known for both its business success and its environmental commitment.”

“We see the company as a role model for shipping in that respect. As such this is a milestone development, one that we hope will pave the way for future installations across EPS’ fleet, further solidifying our presence in the region.”

Cyril Ducau, Chief Executive Officer at EPS, said: “EPS is committed to exploring and implementing innovative solutions that improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions across our fleet.” 

“Over the past six years, our investments in projects including dual fuel vessels, carbon capture, biofuels, voyage optimisation technology and more have allowed us to reduce our emissions intensity by 30% and achieve an Annual Efficiency Ratio (AER) of 3.6 CO2g/dwt-mile in 2023, outperforming our emission intensity targets ahead of schedule. The addition of the bound4blue groundbreaking wind assisted propulsion will enhance our efforts on this path to decarbonise.”

“With this project, we are confident that the emission reductions gained through eSAILs® on Pacific Sentinel will help us better evaluate the GHG reduction potential of wind assisted propulsion on our fleet in the long run.”

Pacific Sentinel will achieve a ‘wind assisted’ notation from class society ABS once the eSAILs® are installed. 

 

Photo credit: Eastern Pacific Shipping
Published: 23 February, 2024

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LNG Bunkering

Galveston LNG Bunker Port joins SEA-LNG coalition

SEA-LNG said move will further enhance its LNG supply infrastructure expertise and global reach, while giving GLBP access to the latest LNG pathway research and networking opportunities.

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Galveston LNG Bunker Port joins SEA-LNG coalition

Galveston LNG Bunker Port (GLBP), a joint-venture between Seapath Group, one of the maritime subsidiaries of the Libra Group, and Pilot LNG, LLC (Pilot), a Houston-based clean energy solutions company, has joined SEA-LNG, according to the latter on Wednesday (21 February). 

SEA-LNG said the move will further enhance its LNG supply infrastructure expertise and global reach, while giving GLBP access to the latest LNG pathway research and networking opportunities.

GLBP was announced in September 2023 and will develop, construct and operate the US Gulf Coast’s first dedicated facility supporting the fuelling of LNG-powered vessels, expected to be operational late-2026.

The shore-based LNG liquefaction facility will be located on Shoal Point in Texas City, part of the greater Houston-Galveston port complex, one of the busiest ports in the USA. This is a strategic location for cruise ship LNG bunkering in US waters, as well as for international ship-to-ship bunkering and cool-down services. GLBP will offer cost-effective turn-key LNG supply solutions to meet growing demand for the cleaner fuel in the USA and Gulf of Mexico.

Jonathan Cook, Pilot CEO, said: “With an initial investment of approximately $180 million, our LNG bunkering facility will supply a vital global and U.S. trade corridor with cleaner marine fuel. We recognise that SEA-LNG is a leading partner and a key piece of the LNG bunkering sector, and will give us access to insights and expertise across the entire LNG supply chain.

“LNG supports environmental goals and human health by offering ship operators immediate reductions in CO2 emissions and virtually eliminating harmful local emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter.”

President of Seapath, Joshua Lubarsky, said: “We are very pleased to be supporting the decarbonization of the maritime industry through strategic, and much needed, investments into the supply of alternative fuels.  We are also happy to be a part of SEA-LNG which has done a wonderful job in advocating for advancements in technology in this vital sector.”

Chairman of SEA-LNG Peter Keller, said: “We’re proud to welcome another leading LNG supplier to the coalition and are looking forward to a mutually beneficial relationship. With every investment in supply infrastructure in the US and worldwide, the LNG pathway’s head start increases. Global availability, alongside bio-LNG and e-LNG development, makes LNG the practical and realistic route to maritime decarbonisation.

“All alternative fuels exist on a pathway from grey, fossil-based fuels to green, bio or renewable fuels. Green fuels represent a scarce resource and many have scalability issues, so we must start our net-zero journey today with grey fuels. LNG is the only grey fuel that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, well-to-wake, so you need less green fuel than alternatives to improve emissions performance.”

 

Photo credit: SEA-LNG
Published: 23 February, 2024

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Biofuel

VARO and Orim Energy to supply bio bunker fuels in ARA region

VARO will source, produce and blend various waste and advanced bio feedstocks to high quality bunker fuel specs; Orim will source fuel and gas oils for blending and deliver final biofuel blends to vessels.

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VARO and Orim Energy to supply bio bunker fuels in ARA region

VARO Energy (VARO) on Wednesday (21 February) said it is partnering with Orim Energy (Orim) to provide shipping customers in the Port of Rotterdam – and wider Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) region - with biofuels. 

The agreement supports the decarbonisation of maritime transportation and inland shipping in Northern Europe. It also contributes to the wider targets set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to reduce the total annual GHG emissions from shipping by at least 20% by 2030 and at least 70% by 2050, compared with 2008 levels.

Current demand for Fuel Oil in ARA , Europe’s largest bunkering hub, is approximately 14 million tonnes per year. Supported by new EU regulations, the market for B30, a blend of 70% Fuel Oil and 30% biofuels, is expected to grow rapidly to the end of the decade. As a result of this joint initiative, VARO and Orim will be well positioned to meet this increased demand and support the decarbonisation plans of their shipping customers.

VARO’s biofuels trading capabilities and growing biofuel manufacturing asset base will complement Orim’s extensive distribution, storage and bunkering capabilities in ARA. Under the agreement, VARO will source, produce and blend various waste and advanced bio feedstocks to high quality bunker specifications. Orim will source the fuel and gas oils for blending and deliver the final biofuel blends to customers’ vessels.

VARO has a long track record of providing biofuels for maritime logistics. Since 2018, the company has supplied the Port of Rotterdam with HVO100 (100% Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil “HVO”) for use with the Port’s service fleet. In 2023 VARO signed an agreement with Höegh Autoliners to supply the company with 100% advanced biofuels for its shipping fleet.

The partnership is aligned with VARO’s strategy to become the partner of choice for customers in the energy transition by providing them with the low-carbon energy solutions they need to decarbonise.

Dev Sanyal, CEO of VARO, said: “Meeting rising demand for blended biofuels is critical to achieving the EU and IMO’s decarbonisation targets for shipping. Our experience in biofuels, combined with Orim’s logistics and bunkering operations, will help meet this demand at Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port facility. I am delighted to be entering into a strategic partnership with Orim and to further build on VARO’s long-established presence in Rotterdam. This is another step in our journey to enable the decarbonisation of the maritime sector.

Edwin Coppens, Managing Director of Orim, said: “Upcoming EU and IMO regulations drive the need to scale up with biofuels and ensure quality assurance going forward. Partnering with VARO allows us to do just that, using each other’s strengths to optimize our blending expertise and network. We will benefit from VARO’s extensive experience with biofuels, which includes joint testing with leading ship engine suppliers. Together, we can increase our sourcing and supply capabilities, extending our reach and further strengthening our position in the ARA region.”

 

Photo credit: VARO Energy
Published: 23 February, 2024

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