Alfa Laval will begin testing biofuels at its 2,800-m2 Test & Training Centre in Aalborg, Denmark, following an agreement with biofuel producer MASH Energy and shipowner DFDS
Two 25-m3 tanks were installed at the centre, one of which is stainless steel and dedicated to testing biofuels and the other new fuel types.
Alfa Laval Test & Training Centre manager Lars Bo Andersen said “New fuel alternatives are constantly being introduced to the marine industry, but the knowledge about their behaviour in marine fuel systems is limited. We want to extend that knowledge through testing, beginning with biofuels.”
“The relationship between heat and viscosity is hard to predict for biofuels, so the existing curves for HFO and LSHFO don’t apply," Mr Andersen said. "For biofuels to be used safely and efficiently, we have to gain more knowledge about them to optimise their handling and combustion.”
The first biofuel tested at the centre will be produced by MASH Energy in India and created through pyrolysis of waste biomass. The fuel will initially be mixed with oil and combusted using the centre’s dual-fuel boilers, which will allow both flame characteristics and emissions such as NOx and particulate matter to be examined.
Between the tank and the boilers, the biofuel will be treated with a high-speed separator to remove any impurities.
“Depending on the results, the next stage will be combusting the fuel in the centre’s four-stroke engine,” said Mr Andersen. This will involve a complete fuel line, including a fuel oil filter and a fuel conditioning module in addition to the separator. The aim is to bunker the biofuel on DFDS Pearl Seaways for hot water production while in Danish ports, and eventually as a fuel for the auxiliary engines.
Samples of the MASH Energy biofuel have already been received and tested at VeriFuel’s labs in Athens, Greece. In anticipation of the full-scale delivery in Aalborg, Denmark, additional preparations are being made at the Test & Training Centre, for example to enable real-time viscosity and emission measurements that will improve boiler combustion control.
Alfa Laval added that the company is in dialogue with additional biofuel producers and research partners including Aalborg University, where fuels derived from hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) are in focus. HTL is a bioconversion technology that can turn any wet organic material into an energy-dense bio-crude.
In April 2019, DFDS bought a stake in MASH Energy, which produces biofuel from agricultural waste.
The current project between Alfa Laval, MASH Energy and DFDS is funded in part by Shipping Lab, a Danish non-profit initiative focused on smart shipping.
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