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Oldendorff Carriers shares results of study on B20 advanced bio bunker fuel blend

Firm provides findings of study that it asked MIT to conduct in 2019 on long-term stability and degradation of a B20 biofuel to address concerns when stored in vessels’ bunker tankers.

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Dry bulk ship owner and operator Oldendorff Carriers provides findings of a study that it asked Massachusetts Institute of Technology to conduct in 2019 on long-term stability and degradation of a B20 advanced biofuel blend to address concerns when stored in vessels’ bunker tankers:

In 2019, Oldendorff Carriers signed a research agreement with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA). The purpose of the research agreement was to investigate disruptive improvements in ship design, propulsion, and alternative energy sources to help achieve the enhanced decarbonization targets to 2050. As part of their agreement, Oldendorff Carriers asked MIT to conduct a study on the long-term stability and degradation of a B20 advanced biofuel blend. Oldendorff would like to share the results of the study with the shipping community to help progress the path toward decarbonization.

One of the alternative energy sources that Oldendorff Carriers has been testing on our ships is the use of second-generation advanced biofuels. Biofuels offer a drop-in fuel option, reducing GHG emissions from a life-cycle perspective (as shown by a previous Oldendorff-MIT study) https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlehtml/2022/se/d1se01495a. However, they are more prone to oxidative degradation due to the presence of unsaturated fatty acids, which are inherent in the vegetable oils and animal fats from which they are derived. Therefore, there are concerns about the stability and degradation of biofuel blends with conventional marine fuels over time when stored in vessels’ bunker tanks.

For those interested in the findings of the study, the following information explains the study procedures and conclusions.

Pat presenting@AIChe 1

Dr. Patricia Stathatou, the lead of the biofuel degradation study, was a Research Scientist at the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms when the project started in April 2022. She has recently moved to the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she is a Research Faculty at the Renewable Bioproducts Institute. Patricia is also still affiliated with the MIT, Center for Bits and Atoms.

In January 2022, our vessel, Edwine Oldendorff, bunkered with an advanced B20 biofuel, consisting of a 20% bio-oil derived from used cooking oil, blended with very low sulphur fuel. Furthermore, there is a limited body of research on the degradation of biofuel blends, with existing studies primarily focusing on first-generation biofuels (derived from food-crops) and/or distillate biofuel blends rather than advanced residual biofuel blends, as in our case.

A biofuel blend is more complex than a homogenous product. Our study was comprehensive, monitoring eight chemical parameters over an extended one-year period, under a variety of storage conditions. Unlike similar studies in the literature that only focus on just a couple of these parameters, we investigated the impacts of various storage conditions on various parameters. The results of our study will be valuable for both biofuel producers and users, assisting them in planning their bunker storage and maintenance systems accordingly over time.

We analysed 15 samples of the B20 biofuel blend (Intertek, UK). The 15 samples (volume per sample: 1 L), were divided into three storage groups. Each group was stored at different temperatures, i.e., 3 oC inside a refrigerator, 23 oC at ambient lab conditions, and 50 oC inside an incubator. Within each group, there were 5 samples stored in identical containers: sealed steel container, open steel container, open steel container with 5% water added, sealed steel container with 5% water added, and transparent sealed glass bottles. These storage conditions were selected to closely replicate typical onboard fuel storage conditions. We investigated the impact of storage temperature, air, light, and water on the fuel quality over time.

The 8 chemical parameters that we tested were acid value, microbial contamination, total sediment potential, water and sediment, peroxide value, density, viscosity, and oxidation onset temperature. The biofuel blend did not contain any biocide or antioxidant, allowing us to assess its natural degradation over time. Acid value and microbial contamination were tested monthly, while the remaining parameters were tested quarterly from May 2022 to April 2023.

After a thorough analysis, fuel degradation was observed:

  • Low levels (<10 CFU/ mL)1 of microbial contamination (MBC) were observed after the first month of storage in almost all samples, irrespective of storage conditions. MBC increased over time, reaching almost 50 CFU/mL in samples exposed to light. FAME content in biofuels encourages microbial growth as microorganisms biodegrade natural fats and oils. MBC can lead to operational problems, including fouling of tanks, pipes and filters, tank corrosion, and fuel injection equipment damage. Conclusion: biocide addition is highly recommended to preserve blended biofuel for an extended period.
  • Oxidative degradation, began from M3-M6 onward, as indicated by a significant increase in peroxide values, a slight increase in acid value, and a slight decrease in oxidation onset temperature. Addition of antioxidants is recommended together with regular monitoring of fuel quality for long-term onboard storage, especially with higher biofuel blends.
  • No sediment was generated after thermal ageing and there was no observed sediment formation or water increase over time.
  • Although exposure to air, water & light contributed significantly to fuel degradation, the impact of storage temperature on degradation remains unclear.

Patricia presented these findings on November 6, 2023 at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChe) Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL, during the session titled “Advances in Biofuels Production and Alternative Fuels I”, which focused on advanced biofuels and alternative fuels for decarbonizing aviation and maritime industries. Her presentation was titled “Assessing the long-term stability & degradation of an advanced marine biofuel blend”.

Photo credit: Oldendorff Carriers
Published: 8 November, 2023

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Biofuel

GCMD concludes its final biofuel blend supply chain trial with Hapag-Lloyd

bp provided the B30 biofuel blend to the “TIHAMA”, a 19,870 TEU container vessel operated by Hapag-Lloyd in final trial; marks the end of a series of trials initiated in July 2022.

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GCMD concludes its final biofuel blend supply chain trial with Hapag-Lloyd

The Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD) on Thursday (18 July) said it has successfully completed its final supply chain trial for biofuel blended with very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO). 

This marks the end of a series of trials initiated in July 2022 as part of a larger pilot to develop a framework to provide quality, quantity and GHG abatement assurances for drop-in fuels.

In this final trial, bp provided the B30 biofuel blend to the TIHAMA, a 19,870 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) container vessel operated by Hapag-Lloyd.

The biofuel component used is certified to the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) standard – a multistakeholder certification scheme for biobased materials. The biofuel component comprised neat Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME) produced from food waste.

Authentix, a tracer solutions provider, supplied and dosed the FAME with an organic-based tracer at the storage terminal outside the Netherlands. The dosed FAME was then transported to the Port of Rotterdam for blending with VLSFO to achieve a B30 blend, before the blend was bunkered onboard the TIHAMA.

Similar to previous trials, GCMD engaged fuel testing company Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS) to witness the operations at all stages – from biofuel cargo transfer to bunkering. VPS also collected and conducted extensive laboratory tests on samples of the biofuel and biofuel blend collected at pre-determined points along the supply chain to assess quality per Standards EN 14214 and ISO 8217.

With well-to-wake emissions of 13.74 gCO2e/MJ, the neat FAME presented a 85.4% emissions reduction compared to the emissions of the fossil marine fuel. The reduced emissions complies with the MEPC 80, which requires a minimum emissions reduction of 65% in order for biofuels to be classified as sustainable.

GCMD and Hapag-Lloyd determined that consumption of the 4,500 MT B30 blend of FAME and VLSFO resulted in 27.9% emissions reduction compared to sailing on VLSFO.

A newly developed tracer deployed with this supply chain

GCMD collaborated with Authentix to develop and deploy a new organic-based tracer to authenticate the origin and verify the amount of FAME present in the blend. The proprietary tracer blended homogeneously with FAME and was detected at expected concentrations at all sampling points along the supply chain.

This trial marks the first deployment of this tracer in a marine fuel supply chain. Previously, similar tracers were used to authenticate and quantify biofuels in road transport and LPG supply chains.

Development of a comprehensive biofuels assurance framework underway

With the completion of this trial, GCMD has deployed a diverse range of tracer technologies, including synthetic DNA and element-based tracers, in addition to the organic-based tracer used in this trial. The trials have also included the development of a chemical fingerprinting methodology and the evaluation of lock-and-seal and automatic identification systems (AIS) as additional solutions to ensure the integrity of the biofuels supply chain.

Learnings on tracer limitations and benefits will be incorporated into a framework that recommends appropriate use to ensure consistent and robust performance. This effort will complement existing ISCC by providing additional supply chain assurance through physical traceability.

The insights from these trials will be shared in a series of reports covering issues, such as traceability, biofuel degradation, supply chain optimisation and abatement costs. These findings will culminate in a comprehensive assurance framework to provide guidance on biofuels use, slated for release in the fourth quarter of 2024.

 

Photo credit: Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation
Published: 19 July 2024

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Biofuel

“K” Line to use biofuel on three Gram Car Carriers-chartered vessels in Singapore

Biofuel will be supplied to the sister vessels “Viking Ocean”, “Viking Diamond” and “Viking Coral” while bunkering in Singapore, says Gram Car Carriers.

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“K” Line to use biofuel on three Gram Car Carriers-chartered vessels in Singapore

Norwegian transportation firm Gram Car Carriers (GCC) on Thursday (18 July) said Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (“K” LINE) will use biofuel on three vessels chartered from GCC from July onwards. 

“The biofuel will be supplied to the sister vessels Viking Ocean, Viking Diamond and Viking Coral while bunkering in Singapore, an Asian hub for marine biofuels,” GCC said on its social media. 

“The use of biofuel is a key environmental initiative to reduce emissions across the entire value chain (well-to-exhaust) and an effective way of transitioning to low-carbon marine fuels amid globally tightening environmental regulations.”

“We support the green mobility shift. This means that GCC commit to supporting the transition of both vehicles and their logistic chain towards a zero-emission future in close cooperation with leading customers such as K-Line,” said Georg A. Whist, CEO of GCC.

 

Photo credit: Gram Car Carriers
Published: 19 July 2024

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Bunker Fuel

NEN releases standard for residual marine fuels with FAME as blend component

NEN 7427-1 should become complementary to ISO 8217 so that it will not only be possible to blend in FAME of a quality in accordance with EN 14214 or ASTM D6751, but to blend in marine FAME as well.

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RESIZED william william on Unsplash

The Royal Netherlands Standardization Institute (NEN) on Monday (15 July) published the NEN 7427-1 standard for residual marine fuels that use fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) as a blend component.

NEN said the NEN 7427-1 served as a springboard to facilitate and accelerate the introduction of biogenous products in the marine industry. 

“The standard should become complementary to ISO 8217 (the standard for marine fuel) so that it will not only be possible to blend in FAME of a quality in accordance with EN 14214 or ASTM D6751, but to blend in M-FAME (marine FAME) as well,” it said on its website.

“That is why NEN 7427-1 will soon be introduced within ISO and CEN, so that ISO 8217 may also enable M-FAME to be used in the future.”

NEN said the marine industry is facing a major challenge on its mission to increase its level of sustainability. 

International organisations have recently set emission reduction targets for the industry. 

These targets can partly be reached by using fuels from biogenous sources, such as FAME (methyl esters of fatty acids, a kind of biodiesel). FAME has been commonplace in transport by road for many years. The EN 14214 and the ASTM D6751 specification apply to this. 

They are also used for marine fuel (in accordance with the ISO 8217 specification), although they were not developed specifically for the marine industry, but for road transport. 

“Although biofuels have been used as blend components in the shipping industry for quite some time, there was no specific specification for this industry. The publication of the new NEN 7427-1 standard puts an end to this situation,” it said.

NEN 7427-1 was developed by a working group, consisting of Dutch and Belgian representatives of petroleum producers, biodiesel producers, shipping companies and other interested parties.

“The working group is currently also working on a standard for FAME distillation residues (the residual products of the FAME production process). This will be NEN 7427-2. This standard is expected to go through a public consultation round late this year or early next year,” it added.

 

Photo credit: william william on Unsplash
Published: 18 July 2024

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