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Newport Fuel Solutions: Marine Additives For Fuel Efficiency – A Panacea or Deception?

Additive makers claiming thermal stability for a treatment should provide evidence that the formula contains a significant percentage of amine-based antioxidants, said CEO Ralph Lewis.




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The following article was written by Ralph Lewis, the CEO of refinery-grade fuel treatment additive manufacturer Newport Fuel Solutions; it was recently shared with Singapore bunker publication Manifold Times:

As the IMO continues to plan and implement directives for improved vessel efficiency, targeting progressive CO2 reductions, and mandating new directives such as EEXI, fuel additive manufactures are increasingly touting products with claims of remarkable efficiency improvements and reductions in emissions.

Yet with these promises, combined with those of hull coating companies, engine management software developers, propeller manufactures and the like, the combined efficiency improvements should make fuel almost free of charge, if all are to be believed! 

Increasing Pmax 

The reality is that no additive can change the BTU content or inherent energy value of any fuel. Yet it is possible to achieve a very slight improvement in inherent efficiency with changes in the thermal stability of the fuel. Man Diesel and Wartsila calculate that for every bar increase in pmax, a 0.25 percent improvement in fuel efficiency is achieved. 

So a few years ago we did some studies on the chemistries of NP-HFO and NP-FOT. Depending on the engine, application of the chemistry provided a result ranging from 3-to-5 bars increase in pmax– indicating a fuel efficiency improvement of 0.75 to 1.25 %! 

Is such a slight improvement in efficiency noticeable at sea? Highly unlikely owing to a wide range of sailing conditions affecting vessel efficiency – load, wind speed, sea conditions, ambient air temperature, engine speed, among many others. 

Yet even just a slight change in engine efficiency is reflected in engine condition long-term, an easily measurable parameter.

Thermal Stability 

The key to this slight improvement is improved thermal stability of the fuel. Newport products contain complex amine chemistries refiners apply globally to improve both thermal and physical stability of blended fuels, automotive fuels, and aircraft fuels. These amines are routinely applied to jet fuels to prevent carbon deposit accumulations on jet engine turbine blades. In fact, the focus on thermal stability research for aircraft fuels has been extensive over the decades. After all, it would not do to have an engine failure at 35,000 feet altitude. 

The same holds true for the automotive side. Most government agencies regulating automotive fuels globally now mandate the use polyether amine type additives – design to prevent deposits and keep fuel delivery systems clean to minimize unburned hydrocarbon and particulate emissions. Today thermal stability technology is universally applied and the effect has been dramatic – reducing unburned hydrocarbon emissions from vehicles an amazing 97 percent in the United States since the 1980s. 

To keep it simple, thermal stability refers to the extent to which a fuel, when heated, produces unburnable carbon mass. Fuels with poor or compromised thermal stability will suffer a slight loss in combustion efficiency and will produce more unburned hydrocarbon deposits and particulates than will fuels with greater thermal stability. Multiple factors affect this characteristic – primarily metallic presence – amount of olefinic unsaturated hydrocarbons, and even the chemical reactions which take place when two or more fuels are blended. 

Again, this effect has been the subject of decades of research and much of this can be discovered in the papers published by the International Association of Fuel Stability and Handling, of which Newport Fuel Solutions is a member. 

Some marine fuel treatment makers seem to conflate these two characteristics of thermal and physical stability. A stand-alone dispersant chemistry – of which there are many – does not, for example, improve thermal stability. The two are quite different. Any additive maker claiming thermal stability for a treatment should provide evidence that the formula contains a significant percentage of amine-based antioxidants.

Physical Stability 

There is one additional factor which affects efficiency – physical stability. Pre 2020 fuels and even today’s modern blended fuels produce some measure of physical sludge. In time, this material begins to affect fuel delivery systems. Combined with the effect of compromised thermal stability, fuel injection systems – injector apertures – needle valves progressively become fouled and spray patterns disrupted. The engine makers original design parameters for optimal efficiency is degraded. Fuel efficiency loss over time can be significant. 

The key to preventing sludge – consisting of asphaltenes, gums, resins, chemical contaminants – is through the application of a highly effective detergent dispersant chemistry. In addition to the refinery-grade amine chemistry therein, NP-HFO and NPFOT have a proven, highly effective tall oil fatty dispersant which physically penetrates the fuel on a molecular basis and separates and disperses these materials evenly throughout the fuel mixture in what is defined as a colloidal suspension. Fuel delivery systems remain deposit free. Injector spray patterns remain optimal. 

Enhancing both thermal and physical stability is key to optimum fuel efficiency - especially critical considering the highly variable and uncertain nature of today’s blended marine fuels. 

And unlike our competitive products, NP-HFO and NP-FOT contain only 100 percent active, refinery-grade components – no cheap petroleum solvent fillers. As highly concentrated products, this makes cost of treatment per metric ton the most competitive in our industry. This also classifies them as nondangerous – safe for shipboard handling and storage. 

NP-HFO and NP FOT are very similar in function. Increase in thermal stability with NP-HFO is slightly higher than with NPFOT, but both products have proven highly effective improving and maintaining vessel efficiencies over the years. 

EEXI – Slow Steaming 

Among the EEXI recommendations – slow steaming is the predominate one - back in the picture as a way to dramatically reduce CO2 emissions. Yet there is a trade-off. At reduced operating speeds, marine engines can be expected to produce higher levels of particulate and unburned hydrocarbon emissions per unit of energy produced. This has always been clearly evident with observation of increased carbon deposits on engine components on two-stroke engines operating at reduced speeds for prolonged periods. 

But this does not have to be. With improved thermal stability of the fuel even at reduced speeds – these deposits are greatly inhibited by Newport products. We know. Our clients simply never experience any excessive deposits under these operating conditions. Rather, engine condition – piston crowns, exhaust valves – turbocharger blades, remained remarkably deposit free at reduced engine speeds over prolonged sailings.

Fuel Treatment Pitfalls 

Newport chemistry is the same refiners have depended on globally for decades - time proven and effective. In comparison, many manufacturers of so-called “combustion improvers” or combustion catalysts” rely on highly questionable components, which in some cases, have long-term negative effects. 

These “catalysts” are needlessly drowned in a high percentage of inexpensive petroleum solvents by products like naphtha, naphthalene, hydro-treated distillate and the like which make up as much as 70 percent of the additive. The safety data sheets are telling – listing these components by chemical abstract number (CAS), percent content, and with the appropriate warnings for storage and handling. 

A common combustion improver decades ago was iron-based ferrocene. In the steam turbine days additives containing ferrocene were used to inhibit some measure of particulate emissions while providing a slight increase in combustion. Even in a two-stroke marine engine, some data indicates that ferrocene application will provide a slight improvement in pmax. 

But there is a downside. Post combustion deposits of ferrocene have been observed visually as a thin later of a red-colored iron oxide film on piston crowns and exhaust valves. In time, this material will accelerate wear on areas it touches. 

This capability to “polish” metal surfaces is well known to jewelers and goldsmiths – who use iron oxide impregnated cloths to polish and shine their works – referring to the material as “jewelers rouge”. Some engine makers refuse to issue a No Objection letter for any marine fuel additive containing ferrocene, or for that matter, other metallic materials often seen in marine fuel additives, including magnesium and manganese. 

Lowest Fuel Treatment Cost 

NP-HFO and NP-FOT contain no metals and no cheap petroleum solvent fillers. With a 100 percent concentration of refinery-grade additives, dosage rates provide the lowest treatment cost per metric ton in the maritime industry. Our business is wholly focused on making yours much safer, secure and profitable.


Photo credit: Chris Pagan on Unsplash
Published: 25 July, 2022

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Singapore: Allision between dredger and bunker tanker was not caused by port congestion, says Transport Minister

‘Investigations are still on-going, but preliminary findings show that the allision on 14 June was caused by the dredger experiencing sudden loss of engine and steering controls,’ says Chee Hong Tat.





Singapore: Allision between dredger and bunker tanker was not caused by port congestion, says Transport Minister

The allision between Netherlands-registered dredger VOX MAXIMA and stationary bunker tanker MARINE HONOUR on 14 June was not caused by port congestion, Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat said on Tuesday (18 June). 

Netherlands-flagged dredger Vox Maxima crashed into a stationary Singapore-flagged bunker vessel Marine Honour on 14 June, causing oil from the bunker vessel’s cargo tank to spill into Singapore waters. 

Chee said some members of the public have asked if this incident was due to congestion in our port waters.

“Investigations are still on-going, but preliminary findings show that the allision on 14 June was caused by the dredger experiencing sudden loss of engine and steering controls,” he said a social media post.

“It is not due to port congestion as our port waters and anchorages are not congested. The earlier reports on delays experienced by container vessels are a separate matter that is due to the bunching of container vessels arriving at PSA.”

Chee added it will take time for Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) to complete the full investigations and progressively clean up the oil spill. 

“We seek the understanding of members of the public and businesses who are affected by this incident. We will do our best to complete the clean up as soon as possible.”

Manifold Times previously reported MPA stating that it saw large increases in container volumes and the “bunching” of container vessel arrivals over the previous months due to supply chain disruptions in upstream locations.

Later, MPA confirmed that since the beginning of 2024, Singapore saw a significant increase in vessel arrivals.

In the first four months of 2024, MPA said the monthly average tonnage of container vessel arrivals reached 72.4 million gross tonnage (GT). This is an increase of more than one million GT per month, compared to the same period last year. 

On 20 June, in a joint statement, authorities said the northern part of the Pasir Panjang Container Terminal (PPT) is cleared of oil slicks following the deployment of the Current Buster, an oil recovery and containment system, since 18 June. 

Thorough cleaning of the oil-stained Berth 36 near the allision area using high-pressure jets is on-going.

PPT was the location of the oil spillage following the 14 June allision between Netherlands-registered dredger VOX MAXIMA and stationary bunker tanker MARINE HONOUR. 

“The deployment of the Current Buster at this upstream location is important to prevent surface oil from flowing westwards towards West Coast Park which is unaffected till date, and also eastward towards downstream locations, including Sentosa beaches, Sentosa Cove, Southern Islands, and Keppel Marina,” authorities, including MPA, said.  

Three Current Buster systems have been deployed. Two systems capable of five tonnes of recovered oil per load are deployed off western affected areas at PPT and Sentosa. The other system capable of 35 tonnes load is deployed off eastern affected areas off East Coast and Changi East as a precaution to recover any oil and prevent further spread. Another 35 tonnes-load Current Buster system will be deployed shortly.

Total length of booms deployed since 14 June is 3400 meters. This is more than the approximate 3100 meters originally planned.

Note: The full statement by Singapore authorities including progress of the shore clean-up effort can be found here

Related: Singapore: Oil spill cleanup after allision between dredger “Vox Maxima” and bunker tanker “Marine Honour”
Related: Singapore sees large increases in container volumes, bunkering activities remain unaffected
Related: MPA reports ‘significant increase’ in vessel arrivals in Singapore


Photo credit: Singapore Transport Ministry / Chee Hong Tat
Published: 20 June, 2024

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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.





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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VPS and Normec Verifavia to offer data-driven and verified emissions data

Both firms signed a partnership agreement with Normec Verifavia to support improved vessel data for MRV / EU ETS reporting and beyond.





VPS and Normec Verifavia to offer data-driven and verified emissions data

Marine fuels testing company VPS on Monday (17 June) said it has signed a partnership agreement with Normec Verifavia to support improved vessel data for MRV / EU ETS reporting and beyond. 

In the face of tightening regulations and focus, VPS said large parts of the maritime industry are in the midst of stepping up their efforts to collect high-quality emissions data from vessel operations. 

“To meet this demand, VPS and Normec Verifavia will offer vessel owners and the wider maritime ecosystem to have indisputable emission numbers produced in a data-driven way,” the firm said.

“For vessel owners, this ensures compliance with upcoming MRV and EU ETS requirements where reported emission numbers need to be verified by a certified verification body.”

The partnership will combine the strengths that VPS have in data-driven decarb and Normec Verifavia´s position as an agile and independent third-party data verifier. The two companies offer a plug-and-play setup, where the vessel owner can experience a seamless and integrated experience in the handling and verification of fleet fuel- and emission numbers. 

 The first step of the partnership is to offer verification for VPS customers using the Maress system for data-driven decarbonisation. Maress is a leading tool in the offshore industry, handling the complexities around fuels- and emissions optimization and assisting crew and onshore personnel in making informed decisions on how to reduce vessel and fleet footprint. Maress is used by a diverse set of stakeholders in the offshore sector, such as vessel owners, contractors, management companies, charterers and more.  

Further, VPS also offers the Emsys technology for precise and real-time measurement of the emissions going through the vessel smokestack. This data can be fed directly to Maress and subsequently verified by Normec Verifavia to provide full control of all aspects of the fuels- and emissions related to vessel operations.

Jan Wilhelmsson, COO, Digital & Decarbonisation of VPS

Jan Wilhelmsson, COO, Digital & Decarbonisation of VPS

Jan Wilhelmsson, COO, Digital & Decarbonisation of VPS, said, "We see a rapid development where the market is no longer willing to take the risk of not knowing -precisely- what the emissions from operations are. We are excited about the fact that the partnership with Normec Verifavia enables all Maress users to get their emission numbers verified. It will literally be a one stop shop for data collection, analytics, collaboration and verified emission reporting."

Yuvraj Thakur, Managing Director & VP Commercial, Normec Verifavia, said: “The maritime industry faces a crucial challenge: achieving transparency and driving progress towards a decarbonised future. Normec Verifavia's collaboration with VPS represents a significant step forward in this direction.”

“By leveraging their expertise in data-driven decarbonization tools like Maress, we can empower asset owners to streamline the entire emissions data lifecycle. This will not only enhance the accuracy of reported data but also significantly reduce the administrative complexities faced by many stakeholders. This collaborative effort strengthens the foundation for a more sustainable maritime industry.”

The ability for Maress customers to verify emission numbers will be immediately commercially available.

Photo credit: VPS
Published: 20 June, 2024

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