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Singapore: Vopak and A*STAR ink MoU to explore low carbon energy solutions

Both will research low carbon energy solutions, including addressing current challenges associated with hydrogen and ammonia, such as scalability, safety, storage and transportation.

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Vopak Terminals Singapore (Vopak) and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) on Friday (27 October) said they signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore research opportunities in low carbon energy solutions, including addressing current challenges associated with hydrogen and ammonia, such as scalability, safety, storage and transportation. 

As a clean fuel that can be used to generate electricity, the duo said the low-carbon hydrogen is an increasingly promising solution which can spur Singapore’s decarbonisation efforts as Singapore transitions towards net zero by 2050. 

They added ammonia, a hydrogen carrier, has also emerged as a possible fuel for power generation, as well as a low-carbon bunker fuel. 

The partnership between Vopak and A*STAR will focus on the development of low-carbon energy technologies by combining Vopak’s expertise and assets in importing, storing and handling ammonia on large scales, with A*STAR’s research capabilities in energy transition and low carbon energy. The partnership will also enable researchers to access Singapore’s only ammonia import, storage and handling infrastructure to accelerate R&D and conduct technology pilots.

Rob Boudestijn, President, Vopak Terminals Singapore, said: “Hydrogen and ammonia can play an important role in Singapore’s transition to a low-carbon economy. As Singapore’s leading independent terminal infrastructure provider, we have extensive knowledge and experience in the safe handling of ammonia.”

“We recognize the unique role that Vopak can play to support Singapore’s net zero ambitions. We look forward to collaborate with A*STAR to accelerate the safe scale up & commercialisation of these low-carbon energy solutions.”

Prof Yeo Yee Chia, Assistant Chief Executive, Innovation & Enterprise, A*STAR, said: “A*STAR looks forward to our partnership with Vopak to support Singapore’s National Hydrogen Strategy, where hydrogen could supply up to half of our power needs by 2050. By advancing technologies for low- or zero-carbon fuels such as hydrogen and ammonia and harnessing them for diverse industry applications, we can help pave the way to a more sustainable future enabled by innovative clean energy sources.”

Photo credit: Vopak
Published: 1 November, 2023

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Biofuel

“K” LINE completes first B100 bio bunker fuel trial on car carrier “APOLLON HIGHWAY”

Marine B100 biofuel, supplied by World Fuel Services, was delivered to the vessel at Belgium port of Zeebrugge on 31 March for the trial, which ended on 30 April.

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“K” LINE completes first B100 bio bunker fuel trial on car carrier “APOLLON HIGHWAY”

Japanese transportation firm Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. (“K” LINE) on Thursday (16 April) announced that the firm has conducted its first trial use of marine B100 biofuel, supplied by global energy management company World Fuel Services, on car carrier “APOLLON HIGHWAY” operated by “K” LINE.

The marine B100 biofuel, composed of 100% biodiesel, was delivered to the vessel at the Belgium port of Zeebrugge on 31 March. 

Marine B100 biofuel, composed of 100% biodiesel, was delivered to “APOLLON HIGHWAY” at the Belgium port of Zeebrugge.

Marine B100 biofuel, composed of 100% biodiesel, was delivered to “APOLLON HIGHWAY” at the Belgium port of Zeebrugge.

After leaving Europe Emission Control Area, the vessel started using the B100 biofuel. The trial was completed on 30 April.

“As an action plan, we will continue to work on the introduction of new fuels, which have a low environmental impact and take on the challenge of achieving the targets set forth,” the firm said. 

 

Photo credit: “K” LINE
Published: 20 May 2024

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Biofuel

Asahi Tanker completes B24 bio bunker fuel trial in Singapore

Oil and chemical tanker “Sunny Orion” was bunkered with 237 metric tonnes (mt) of B24 biofuel blend, supplied by Marubeni Corporation, in Singapore.

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Japanese marine transportation company Asahi Tanker Co Ltd on Wednesday (8 May) said it successfully operated its tanker ship Sunny Orion using biofuel for two weeks, which is made by mixing waste cooking oil with heavy oil.

Oil and chemical tanker Sunny Orion was bunkered with 237 metric tonnes (mt) of B24 biofuel blend, supplied by Marubeni Corporation, in Singapore. 

The B24 blend contained 24% fatty acid methyl ester (FAME)-based biofuel derived from used cooking oil and 76% VLSFO. Biofuel component of the fuel is International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) certified.

The biofuel (B24) used contained is 76% very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) and 24% fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) derived from used cooking oil.

“This is our first initiative to operate using biofuel. Sunny Orion consumed the fuel that had been refuelled over a period of about two weeks without any problems with the main engine,” the firm said in a statement.

“Furthermore, by using this biofuel, we expect to be able to reduce CO₂ emissions by approximately 15-20% compared to the VLSFO used previously.”

 

Photo credit: Asahi Tanker
Published: 13 May 2024

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Biofuel

GCMD and NYK to launch six-month trial of continuous bio bunker fuels use on vessel

Project will trial continuous use of a biofuels blend comprising of 24% FAME and VLSFO onboard a short-sea vehicle carrier that will call at multiple ports to address concerns of long-term use of biofuels.

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GCMD and NYK to launch six-month trial of continuous bio bunker fuels use on vessel

The Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD) on Thursday (9 May) said it has teamed up with NYK Line to launch Project LOTUS, which stands for long-term impact of continuous use of biofuels on vessel operations. 

This six-month project will trial the continuous use of a biofuels blend, comprising of 24% Fatty Acid Methyl Esters (FAME) and very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO), onboard a short-sea vehicle carrier that will call at multiple ports. 

The use of a vessel plying short-sea routes will allow regular access to fuels stored onboard for sampling and testing during frequent port calls.

FAME, a readily available biofuel derived from second-generation feedstocks, like used cooking oil and palm oil mill effluent, presents a promising fuel alternative for immediate GHG emissions reduction in the shipping industry. 

“While its compatibility with existing engines and bunkering infrastructure makes it an attractive ‘drop-in’ green fuel, concerns about the impact of its extended use on vessel operations remain,” GCMD said in a statement. 

GCMD and NYK to launch six-month trial of continuous bio bunker fuels use on vessel

Unlike conventional marine fuels, one of the challenges with FAME is that it can be more susceptible to chemical degradation and microbial growth, the by-products of which can corrode shipboard engine systems and/ or clog fuel delivery systems.

As a preventative measure, engine Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and classification societies have thus recommended increasing the frequency of maintenance when using biofuels and its blends compared to using conventional marine fuels.

Despite a promising surge in biofuel bunkering volumes at key hubs, like Singapore and Rotterdam, with sales rising from negligible levels in 2020 to 1 million MT in 2023, their use still only represents 1.7% of total bunker sales at these hubs. With stricter regulations in force, the use of biofuels in shipping is likely to rise significantly in the coming years. 

“To fully understand the opportunity FAME presents to the shipping sector, a thorough investigation of the impact on its long-term use and an evaluation of the total cost of adoption is critical,” GCMD added. 

The past decade has seen trials of various biofuels onboard vessels; these have primarily focused on their combustion characteristics and the extent of emissions abatement. Data on the impact of long-term and continuous use of biofuels on engine performance and fuel delivery system operations remain limited.

Project LOTUS aims to address this knowledge gap by establishing industry guidelines for monitoring engine and equipment performance when using biofuels. This pilot will also evaluate the total cost of ownership of using biofuels, covering the cost of fuel and additional maintenance costs associated with its use. Additionally, it will identify potential challenges, e.g., corrosion of engine systems and valve failures, related to continuous biofuels use, and recommend mitigation strategies.

The quantitative findings from Project LOTUS offer an opportunity to contribute complementary real-world data to the upcoming revision of ISO 8217:2024, which includes specification of standards for a wider range of FAME-based blends up to B100.

Further, these learnings will be crucial for shipowners and operators who are considering biofuels use to meet vessel compliance with regulations, like the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) and the FuelEU Maritime Standards.

Scope of the pilot and industry participation

Project LOTUS will be conducted with the appointed vessel under commercial operations to capture real-world challenges and ensure that the learnings are extensible to the industry. The pilot will involve comprehensive tracking of fuel quality and lubricant efficacy, as well as monitoring engine and fuel delivery system performance over the course of the trial.

Leveraging its experience from three successful supply chain trials with four vessels for its drop-in green fuel assurance framework, GCMD will lead Project LOTUS in collaboration with industry partners. NYK Line, a co-sponsor, will contribute the vessel and manage fuel procurement. VPS will handle fuel and lube oil analyses and Gard will support GCMD as an insurance and risk assessment consultant on the project.

Professor Lynn Loo, CEO of GCMD, said, “Project LOTUS will provide valuable insights into how extended biofuels use affect engine performance and shipboard operations. This knowledge will empower stakeholders across the ecosystem, from shipowners and charterers to biofuels producers and regulators – to make more informed business and policy decisions. Ultimately, this pilot will lead to greater confidence for biofuels use at scale, accelerating progress towards decarbonising the maritime industry.”

Nobuhiro Kashima, Senior Managing Executive Office of NYK Line, said, “We released the “NYK Group Decarbonization Story” in November 2023, declaring a new target to reduce the NYK Group’s GHG emissions by 45% from the fiscal 2021 level by fiscal 2030. To achieve this goal, from fiscal 2024 we started conducting full-scale trials of the long-term use of biofuels in navigating existing heavy oil-powered vessels. We are delighted to launch Project LOTUS together with reliable partners, like GCMD. We believe the knowledge gained through this project will help us achieve our GHG reduction targets and eventually contribute to the decarbonisation of the maritime industry.”

 

Photo credit: Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation
Published: 9 May 2024

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