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GCMD-led consortium to establish supply chain of green marine fuels

With 18 industry partners including BHP Singapore, this pilot will help to shape national and international standards of biofuels bunkering, amongst others.

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The Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD) on Tuesday (26 July) said it is leading a consortium of 18 industry partners to launch a drop-in biofuels pilot project with a combined contribution of USD 18 million in cash and in-kind to establish an assurance framework for ensuring the supply chain integrity of current and future green marine fuels, bringing genuine benefits to end-users and the climate.

On the launch of this pilot project Professor Lynn Loo, CEO of GCMD, said: “GCMD is leading this route-based pilot to help align stakeholders in the supply chain for the adoption of biofuels. By facilitating and creating an optimised drop-in green fuels supply chain, this pilot will help to shape national and international standards of biofuels bunkering and lower the barrier for their wider adoption to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from a lifecycle perspective. In curating and executing this first-of-its-kind drop-in biofuels pilot, GCMD is positioned to address stakeholder pain points in the complexities of the supply chain of green marine fuels in a meaningful way.”

Addressing the gap for the maritime industry

To meet the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) 2030 and 2050 decarbonisation targets, shipowners as well as cargo owners and charterers are exploring the purchase and use of green bunker fuels. Biofuels can be a near-term measure to reduce GHG emissions as they are available today, and they can be deployed in the same way as marine fuels with minimal changes to the existing distribution infrastructure, shipboard technologies, and operational norms of ships. However, there is no industry-wide assurance framework that addresses concerns on the quantity, quality and GHG emissions abatement of biofuels, nor one that safeguards their premium and value. 

To address this gap, the GCMD-led pilot aims to establish an assurance framework that ensures supply chain transparency of drop-in biofuels, whose applicability can be extended to future drop-in fuels, such as bio-LNG, biomethanol and green ammonia, when they become available in meaningful quantities.

Recent IMO decisions to eliminate the need to apply for waivers for using fuel blends with up to 30% biofuels (B30) for propulsion, and to allow the use of B30 in accordance with MARPOL Annex VI, have lowered regulatory hurdles for adopting biofuels. To this end, the assurance framework that will be the outcome of this pilot will increase stakeholder confidence in the full value of the premium paid for such green fuels, and further lower the barrier to wider adoption of biofuels in the maritime industry by addressing concerns on the integrity of the biofuels supply chain.

The vessels in this pilot are all equipped with MAN ES’s two-stroke engines. In response to participating in this pilot, Bjarne Foldager, Senior Vice President and head of Two Stroke Business, said: “This is a very important initiative by GCMD, and we are honoured to contribute. At MAN Energy Solutions we believe several solutions are required to decarbonise shipping, however all solutions needs to be verified and their scalability tested. This is best done in partnerships aligning the various actors in projects like this where we can share knowledge and build transition strategies together.”

Supporting the green corridors framework

GCMD is undertaking a bottom-up approach by convening like-minded partners across the maritime industry to participate in this pilot. Altogether, the ship owners, charterers and operators participating in this pilot project represent approximately 2,300 vessels across the container, tanker and bulker segments, and are responsible for transporting 8.4 million TEUs or 80.6 million DWT globally. With 12 vessels bunkering at three ports across three continents, the learnings from these route-based pilots will support the green corridors framework that was put forth by the Clydebank Declaration at COP26 in October 2021, of which 24 states are signatories including Singapore, the Netherlands and the US where bunkering ports for this pilot project reside.

Targeting the complex supply chain of green fuels

A first-of-its-kind in extent and complexity, the pilot aims to optimise the entire supply chain of bunker fuels by building on the learnings of past shipboard trials involving biofuels. Designed through the lens of the shipowner, piloting will start with fuel blends involving existing biofuels, such as hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) and fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) blended with either very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO), high-sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) or marine gas oil (MGO) in blends up to 30% biofuels (B30).

“There are so many good elements in this pilot,” said Unni Einemo, Director of the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA)

“A variety of biofuels and biofuel blends have already been successfully tested, but this comprehensive pilot can help address remaining uncertainties about how these fuels work in practice by getting extensive enduser operational experiences with products involving FAME and HVO, and hopefully also crude algae oil.”

Using BunkerTrace’s digital and synthetic DNA tracing products to track marine fuels from production to vessel propulsion, the pilot will validate the authenticity of sustainable biofuels through molecular verification tests conducted on fuel samples that are collected at numerous identified points along the supply chain. Hence, the pilot will address traceability of drop-in biofuels from production, distribution, transportation, storage, and bunkering to shipboard application, providing end-to-end supply chain transparency.

Einemo continued: “The tracing element in this pilot is also really exciting. Biofuels have the potential to help the existing fleet meet IMO’s GHG reduction targets by taking lifecycle emissions into account, but one of the challenges will be certification of product origin as the sustainability of biofuels can vary significantly depending on production pathways. Biofuels can be blends coming from feedstock with different sustainability profiles, so it will be interesting to see if the DNA tracing will show mainly single-source origin products or biofuels of multiple origins. This could give us some really useful insights into the complexities of documenting the full supply chain of fuels, which will become increasingly important.”

Testing laboratories will play a crucial role in evaluating the biofuels and biofuel blends. Strategically located in Singapore, the world’s largest bunkering hub and second largest container port, GCMD also participates in the work of the Singapore Standards Council’s Chemical Standards Committee (CSC) in developing national standards for the bunkering industry. 

On this GCMD pilot, Capt. Rahul Choudhuri, Chairman of the CSC’s Technical Committee for Bunkering (Ambient Liquid Fuels), said: “GCMD’s project scope involves a detailed quality assessment of biofuels, including ascertaining their shelf life and long-term stability. As such, the involvement of global laboratory services companies in this project will provide such information that will strengthen the efforts of the Technical Committee’s Working Group on Marine Fuel Specifications and contribute to developing acceptable industry standards and practices for the use of biofuels in Singapore and eventually elsewhere.”

Adding to the pilot’s complexity is coordinating the sailing schedules of participating vessels. The aggregation of demand for biofuels at ports will result in cost savings for shipowners and fuel purchases through optimised use of land-side storage facilities and bunkering vessels and facilitate assessments of GHG emissions abatement on a well-to-wake basis of individual vessels and across fleets. Furthermore, testing these fuel blends across the container, tanker and bulker segments travelling on fixed and tramp routes and bunkering at the ports of Singapore, Rotterdam, and Houston under business-as-usual conditions will demonstrate the compatibility and stability of these biofuels in actual operating environments, thereby strengthening the overall robustness of the assurance framework.

Calling for crude algae oil supply

In an effort to further accelerate biofuels adoption as a near-term measure to reduce GHG emissions, GCMD will be leveraging this project to be the first in trialling and assessing the use of crude algae oil (CAO) as a marine fuel. CAO is a third-generation biofuel that promises substantially reduced carbon footprint, but unlike HVO and FAME, its utility has not been tested nor its supply chain established. For this part of the pilot, GCMD has assembled fuel purchasers who are committed to trialling CAO, and is inviting CAO producers with existing commercial production capacities to participate by reaching out to [email protected] by 22 August. GCMD will link up CAO fuel producers with pre-identified fuel suppliers to test and provide CAO for this pilot on a commercial basis.

In the run-up to the launch of this pilot project, GCMD is finalising the agreement details with the 18 project partners. The pilot will commence on 1 August 2022, and is expected to take 12 to 18 months to complete. 

GCMD industry partners for this project are:

  • Anglo American
  • Astomos Energy Corporation
  • Boston Consulting Group
  • BHP Singapore Pte Limited
  • BunkerTrace Limited
  • Chevron Corporation
  • CMA CGM S.A.
  • Eastern Pacific Shipping Pte. Ltd.
  • Hapag-Lloyd AG
  • MAN Energy Solutions SE
  • Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha
  • Ocean Network Express Pte. Ltd.
  • Pacific International Lines (Pte) Ltd.
  • Saybolt (Singapore) Pte Ltd
  • Stena Bulk AB
  • Swire Bulk Pte. Ltd.
  • VG (Viswa Group)
  • VPS

 

Photo credit: Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation
Published: 26 July, 2022

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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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