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Refinery Automation Institute: Marine fuels GHG carbon footprint reduction is possible through blending

18 Oct 2022

The following is an article written by Ara Barsamian and Daniel BC Son of the Refinery Automation Institute that was recently shared with Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times on blending fuels of different carbon intensities to substantially reduce GHG emissions.

The paper describes the technique with two cases: blending RMG380 with FAME and green hydrogen with liquified natural gas (LNG):

Great efforts are undertaken to develop alternative fuels to replace traditional hydrocarbon fuels. The bunker industry, through IBIA, has started a working group to evaluate the potential and practicality of alternative fuels, encompassing among others, hydrogen, ammonia, methanol, and biofuels. It is an admirable effort, bringing all suppliers, engine manufacturers, shipowners, and users together. However, most of the alternatives are not capable of mass production or capable to be implemented in the existing conventional engines.

There is a straightforward and practical alternative that can be implemented right now, which does not require modifying of the engines, storage tanks, or other safety engineering related mods: GHG CI blending.

Dilution of Green House Gas (GHG) Carbon Intensity (CI)

Dilution of CI is done by blending two or more fuel blend components with different CI’s.

Each fuel material has its own CI number, expressed in units of gCO2e/MJ. The CI number depends on the specific “pathway” used for fuel life cycle analysis, from its “birth to death”. That is the reason why the same fuel, e.g., FAME, can have a different CI’s depending on the individual pathways, such as means of production or usage (Fig. 1).

CI data bases are available from US EPA and other organizations (see references 1 through 4).

The CI “blending method” achieves substantial reduction in carbon intensity

  • Without new alternative or experimental fuels
  • Mostly without modifications to existing engines or fuel infrastructure

To put the theory to test, we calculated a blend of RMG 380 with FAME biodiesel [1] using the EPA CI database numbers; the results show a potential reduction of 21% in the CI of the 70/30% blend:

For Automotive Diesel, you can also use FAME, Renewable Diesel (RD), or “Green” middle distillates, such as green diesel, green jet, etc., illustrated in Fig. 3.

Applicability of Blending Method to Dilute Carbon Intensity (CI)

The GHG CI dilution by blending applies equally to alternative fuels, e.g., blending “Green” hydrogen with LNG, or Ammonia or Methanol, etc. (Fig. 4).

If you are interested in getting a copy of the Excel-based GHG CI dilution blending spreadsheet, send us a request to [email protected] or [email protected].

The calculator covers GHG CI dilution for bunkers, diesel, and gasoline. You can modify it to suit your needs, and it can be used with any fuels, as long as the fuels are compatible and approved for use with a particular engine.

Note: Refinery Automation Institute, LLC will be discussing the blending method and illustrative examples of it in our upcoming blending courses in Singapore on 31 October to 1 November and in Houston on 14 to 19 November, 2022. 

References:

  1. https://www.epa.gov/ghgreporting/data-sets
  2. IBIA’s Future Fuels Working Group www.ibia.net
  3. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/greenhouse-gas-reporting-conversion-factors- 2021
  4. https://theicct.org/sites/default/files/publications/Well-to-wake-co2-mar2021-2.pdf

 

Photo credit: Refinery Automation Institute
Published: 18 October, 2022

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