Using chemical tags to trace fuels will facilitate industry adoption of environmentally sustainable fuels, experts agreed during Riviera’s Biofuels: entering the maritime fuel mainstream webinar
Technology enabling shipping companies to check the quality and quantity of fuel will be important for conventional fuel bunkering. It can also qualify the sustainability of feedstocks for biofuels.
This was one of the key conclusions from the webinar, held as part of Riviera’s Marine Fuels Webinar Week, where panellists included Lloyd’s Register EMEA global operations manager for Fuel Oil Bunker Analysis Service (FOBAS), Naeem Javaid; Forecast Technology technical sales director Stuart Hall; and DFDS director and innovation lead Jakob Steffensen.
They discussed the feasibility of introducing biofuels for the maritime industry, testing and approvals needed and technologies for ensuring these are sustainable.
Mr Javaid explained the importance of ensuring biofuels come from environmentally sustainable feedstocks. “The easiest way is for suppliers to obtain a sustainability certificate from independent bodies such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials or the International Sustainability Carbon Certification,” said Mr Javaid.
He said a benefit of biodiesel is it does not contain sulphur or emit sulphur oxides. “The emissions produced from biodiesel combustion does not contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. For the blended fuels, the emissions of particulate matters, hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide are reduced as the amount of biodiesel in the blended fuel increases.”
Mr Hall introduced the DNA tracing technology Forecast Technology has developed to assure the quality of marine fuels. He said this includes a unique tag and flag introduced into the feedstock and/or fuel, which can be traced through supply chains and checked on ships.
DNA tracing “helps check that the fuel delivered is as expected, linking the fuel to the paperwork,” said Mr Hall. “It can show sustainability of the feedstock,” he continued, “and shows if there have been any changes, such as dilution or swaps.”
He expects this could bring financial and assurance benefits to shipowners for better compliance and reporting. “It reduces downtime and debate, increasing reputation and could reduce insurance,” said Mr Hall.
Mr Steffensen agreed tags could help shipping introduce greater biofuel adoption. “Tags are doable and a good way to link the physical substance with blockchains,” he said. He also called on regulators, flag authorities and classification societies to make it easier for shipping to pilot and adopt biofuels.
“Regulations and systems need to be in place to ensure shipowners can start test runs and make decisions to go more green,” said Mr Steffensen.
There is a growing tide within shipping to test biofuels as one of the methods of meeting IMO’s strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and then by 2050.
Around 79% of the attendees responding to survey questions said biofuel blends were viable future marine fuels, with 21% disagreeing.
When attendees were asked what the most important factor was in deciding to use biofuels, 36% said it was regulations to curb greenhouse gas emissions, and 24% said it would be biofuel availability. Another 23% said it was fuel price, 13% thought it would be awareness, experience and knowledge about biofuels and 4% said cargo owner requirements.
Attendees were also asked: In your experience of managing and using very low sulphur fuel oil, what are the main quality concerns you have (click all that apply)?
In their answers, 53% said quality variance across the globe, 44% said purification and handling issues, 21% thought it was external contamination, 9% said external chemical contamination and another 9% said there were no issues.
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Webinar Biofuels: entering the maritime fuel mainstream panellists were: DFDS director and innovation lead Jakob Steffensen, Lloyd’s Register EMEA global operations manager for FOBAS Naeem Javaid and Forecast Technology technical sales director Stuart Hall.