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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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Methanol

Mitsubishi Shipbuilding receives orders for Japan’s first methanol-fuelled RoRo cargo ship duo

Two ships will be built at the Enoura Plant of MHI’s Shimonoseki Shipyard & Machinery Works in Yamaguchi Prefecture, with scheduled completion and delivery by the end of fiscal 2027.

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Mitsubishi Shipbuilding receives orders for Japan's first methanol-fuelled RoRo cargo ship duo

Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., a part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group, on Wednesday (19 June) said it has received orders from Toyofuji Shipping and Fukuju Shipping for Japan's first methanol-fueled roll-on/roll-off (RORO) cargo ships. 

The two ships will be built at the Enoura Plant of MHI's Shimonoseki Shipyard & Machinery Works in Yamaguchi Prefecture, with scheduled completion and delivery by the end of fiscal 2027.

The ships will be approximately 169.9 meters in overall length and 30.2 meters in breadth, with 15,750 gross tonnage, and loading capacity for around 2,300 passenger vehicles.

A windscreen at the bow and a vertical stem are used to reduce propulsion resistance, while fuel efficiency is improved by employing MHI's proprietary energy-saving system technology combing high-efficiency propellers and high-performance rudders with reduced resistance. 

The main engine is a high-performance dual-fuel engine that can use both methanol and A heavy fuel oil, reducing CO2 emissions by more than 10% compared to ships with the same hull and powered by fuel oil, contributing to a reduced environmental impact. 

In the future, the use of green methanol(2) may lead to further reduction in CO2 emissions, including throughout the lifecycle of the fuel. Methanol-fueled RORO ships have already entered into service as ocean-going vessels around the world, but this is the first construction of coastal vessels for service in Japan.

In addition, the significant increase in vehicle loading capacity and transport capacity per voyage compared to conventional vessels will provide greater leeway in the ship allocation schedule, securing more holiday and rest time for the crew, thereby contributing to working style reforms.

Mitsubishi Shipbuilding, to address the growing needs from the modal shift in marine transport against the backdrop of CO2 reductions in land transportation, labor shortages, and working style reforms, will continue to work with its business partners to provide solutions for a range of societal issues by building ferries and RORO vessels with excellent fuel efficiency and environmental performance that contribute to stable navigation for customers.

 

Photo credit: Mitsubishi Shipbuilding
Published: 20 June, 2024

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Methanol

Maersk and Nike to christen methanol-fuelled boxship at Port of Los Angeles in August

Powered by methanol for its maiden voyage and capable of carrying more than 16,000 containers, the vessel will get its new name at a private ceremony at Port of Los Angeles Outer Harbor.

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A.P. Moller – Maersk (Maersk) on Wednesday (19 June) said it will be christening one of the world’s first methanol-enabled vessels when it arrives in Los Angeles this August.

The firm invited the public to go aboard the container ship in Los Angeles.

Powered by methanol for its maiden voyage and capable of carrying more than 16,000 containers (TEU), the vessel will get its new name at a private ceremony at the Port of Los Angeles Outer Harbor on Tuesday, August 27. 

Maersk’s CEO Vincent Clerc will be on hand, alongside special guest speakers from Nike and leading state and local officials. Nike is a partner in the name-giving event.

“Nike is committed to protecting the future of sport and we leverage science-based targets to guide us through our Move to Zero journey,” said Venkatesh Alagirisamy, Nike Chief Supply Chain Officer.

“Operating one of the largest supply chains in the world, we have a responsibility to advance the innovation and use of more sustainable methods that get us closer to zero carbon and zero waste. By working with suppliers like Maersk, who share our commitment to sustainability, we are scaling our use of biofuels in ocean transportation, our main first-mile delivery channel.”

“This event is not only an opportunity to celebrate a remarkable engineering achievement, but the chance to highlight that we can navigate towards more sustainable supply chains if we work together,” said Charles van der Steene, Regional President for Maersk North America.

On Wednesday, August 28, Maersk invites the public to tour the 350-meter-long vessel, which will be sailing from Asia. Visitors will be able to see the Sailors’ living quarters and even stand on the bridge from where the captain controls the vessel. Public tours will require visitors register for a free ticket via an online registration site that will be activated and announced in August.

This is the fifth container vessel in Maersk’s fleet that can sail on green methanol bunker fuel.

 

Photo credit: A.P. Moller – Maersk
Published: 20 June, 2024

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Methanol

Methanol Institute: Innovative developments and strategic collaborations (Week 24, 10-16 June 2024)

This week highlights notable advancements in methanol fuel technology, strategic partnerships, and industry analyses, underscoring the maritime sector’s ongoing commitment to sustainable fuel solutions.

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The Methanol Institute, provides an exclusive weekly commentary on developments related to the adoption of methanol as a bunker fuel, including significant related events recorded during the week, for the readers of bunkering publication Manifold Times:

The past week saw further additions to the potential capacity for production of methanol with announcement of a new facility using waste biomass to create biomethanol for the maritime market. Elsewhere, plans for additional port storage was announced at key ports in China. Finally, analysis by Ship & bunker shows that almost half of the bunker capacity represented by the newbuilding orderbook will be powered by alternative fuels.

Methanol marine fuel related developments for Week 24 of 2024:

Norway to Develop Bio-e-Methanol Production Facility

Date: June 10, 2024

Key Points: Glocal Green and Norwegian Hydrogen are partnering to build a bio-e-methanol plant in Øyer, Gudbrandsdalen, Norway. The facility will produce 10,000 metric tonnes of bio-e-methanol annually, using hydrogen and CO2 from bio-waste and wood waste. The project aims to support the maritime sector's transition to green fuels, leveraging local renewable resources to create sustainable methanol, thus contributing to Norway's environmental goals and the broader global push for cleaner energy solutions.

Green Marine Fuels and Vopak Collaborate on Green Methanol Storage Facilities

Date: June 12, 2024

Key Points: Green Marine Fuels Trading and Vopak have announced a strategic partnership to develop green methanol storage facilities at key ports, including Shanghai Caojing and Tianjin Lingang in China. This collaboration aims to expand the infrastructure needed to support the growing demand for green methanol as a sustainable marine fuel. The facilities will enhance the supply chain for green methanol, aligning with global efforts to decarbonize the shipping industry and promote the use of alternative fuels.

Global Orderbook Analysis: Conventional vs. Alternative Bunker Fuel Demand

Date: June 13, 2024

Key Points: An analysis of the global newbuilding orderbook, conducted by Ship and Bunker, reveals that of a total 33.8 million tonnes (mt) of bunker demand, alternative fuelled ships represent 46% or 15.6mt of bunker demand.

Methanol accounts for 3.2 mt (10%) compared to 10.5mt (31%) for LNG, a figure skewed by the vast orderbook for LNG carriers which partly use their cargo as fuel.

The data from DNV Alternative Fuels Insight indicates a significant shift towards alternative fuels, driven by containerships and LNG carriers, reflecting the maritime industry's continuing focus on reducing carbon emissions and adopting greener fuel options.

 

Photo credit: Methanol Institute
Published: 20 June, 2024

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