A Japanese consortium comprising a shipowner, engine designer and research institute are to investigate the use of biofuels in marine two-stroke engines.
Shipowner NYK Line and engine developer Japan Engine Corporation are to test advanced biofuels from Dutch supplier GoodFuels in a test engine at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Research & Innovation Center.
The biofuel is derived from organic sources (or biomass) and is considered carbon-neutral because the CO2 emitted during combustion, production and supply is equivalent to that absorbed during photosynthesis in the growth process of the biomass. CO2 emissions during combustion are greatly reduced compared to diesel fuels and almost no SOx is emitted.
NYK Line’s capesize bulk carrier Frontier Sky received a biofuel bunkering from GoodFuels earlier this year as part of another project, conducted by global mining company and major dry bulk charterer BHP. A blend of 30% biofuel (derived from cooking oil feedstock) and 70% marine diesel oil was expected to cut CO2 emissions by 50 tonnes (26.2%) compared to conventional MDO.
Biofuel developments have been accelerating rapidly in shipping in 2019. Maersk is carrying out a pilot test using second-generation biofuel on one of its Tripe-E box ships. The vessel is currently sailing from Rotterdam to Shanghai and back on biofuel blends alone – a world’s first at this scale which is expected to cut 1.5M kg of CO2 emissions and 20,000 kg of sulphur.
Meanwhile Danish shortsea operator DFDS is to become the marine testbed for a new biofuel after investing DKK10M (US$1.5M) in Mash Energy. The investment makes DFDS jointly responsible for developing a commercially viable product and the companies plan to prepare a test of the fuel in a DFDS ship’s engine.