GR0WING numbers of shipping companies are experimenting with biofuels as a near-term means of improving their environmental performance, reports Fort Lauderdale's Maritime Executive.
Made from reused oil, biofuel also provides the benefit of recycling an otherwise waste product.
Among the companies reporting recent tests of the alternative fuel product were two of Japan's largest shipping companies, Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) and NYK Anglo American as charterer of the NYK vessel also demonstrated the involvement of other parts of the supply chain.
In the UK, both crewing vessels serving an offshore wind field and tugs on the Thames also joined the broader effort to test biofuels. The companies are exploring different forms of the sustainable product.
MOL working through its subsidiary Euro Marine Logistics headquartered in Belgium started sea trials in June for one of its car carriers. The 11-year-old vessel City of Oslo (5,432 dwt) loaded 370 tons of biofuel from supplier GoodFuels while at the Dutch port of Flushing.
MOL highlighted the benefits that the fuel can be used on vessels without changing the engine specifications. The test is ongoing for the car carrier.
The 10-year-old capsize bulker Frontier Jacaranda (182,757 dwt) loaded biodiesel in Singapore before a voyage to the Saldanha Bay in South Africa. In this instance, Toyota Tsusho Petroleum supplied a biodiesel blend consisting of seven per cent biofuel and 93 per cent standard marine diesel.
According to Anglo American, the mix reduces CO2 emissions by five per cent. Among the elements they were exploring was the stability of the biofuel in storage and its performance as a fuel.
Data gathered was expected to provide new insights into wider efforts to introduce biofuel to the maritime sector.
They were also exploring ways of improving the cost-effectiveness and they plan to use higher percentage blends in future trials.