bp and Maersk Tankers, with support from the Danish Maritime Authority, have successfully completed trials using biofuel-blended marine fuel in product tankers, demonstrating that sustainable biofuels can be used as a marine drop-in fuel to help reduce carbon emissions in shipping.
The trials were completed on Maersk Cirrus and Maersk Navigator—product tankers on time-charter to bp from Maersk Tankers. Each vessel was supplied with bp Marine B30 biofuel, consisting of 30% fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) blended with very low sulfur fuel oil (VLSFO).
FAME is a renewable alternative fuel (biodiesel) largely produced from recycled cooking oils and renewable oil sources. It has physical properties similar to conventional diesel, and is also non-toxic and biodegradable. The origination and production of the feedstocks used to produce FAME is certified for its sustainability to internationally recognized standards.
The trials saw the vessels sail from Rotterdam to West Africa. Throughout the trials, tests were carried out to assess the reliability and performance of the B30 biofuel blend in each ship’s main engine, auxiliary engine and boiler, and any impact on fuel tanks to determine the level of interchangeability with other fuel types.
No adverse effects to equipment or machinery were observed during or after the trials. No modifications to the engine or infrastructure were required, demonstrating the suitability of sustainable biofuels for use as a ‘drop in fuel’.
Global shipping accounts for around 3% of the global carbon emissions. bp is a major global marine fuel and lubricants supplier and operator and charterer of tankers and other vessels worldwide. Maersk Tankers commercially manages the largest tanker fleet in the world. The companies came together in this trial as part of their contribution to the decarbonization of the industry.
bp aims to regularly supply biofuel blends for their operated and time-charter vessels when they refuel in the Netherlands, subject to owners and Flag-state approval.