Singapore's GCMD to test long-term biofuel shipping use

  • Market: Oil products
  • 09/05/24

Singapore-based Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD) and Japanese shipping firm NYK Line will trial the continuous use of a biofuel blend over six months.

The study aims to evaluate the effects of the continuous use of B24 biofuel blend of 24pc fatty acid methyl ester (Fame) and 76pc of very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) on a short-sea vehicle carrier that will call at multiple ports, allowing for the regular sampling and testing of fuels stored on the ship.

Fame is a "promising" fuel alternative, the firms said, but added that there are concerns about the impact of its extended use on vessel operations. The study hence aims to study the long-term impact of biofuel usage on ship engine performance and fuel delivery system operations. It will also examine the total cost of ownership of using biofuel, including fuel costs and associated maintenance costs, as well as identify potential operating challenges and suggest mitigation strategies.

B24 is the current blend of alternative marine fuel that is being used or trialled for bunkering at some key Asian ports like Singapore and Zhoushan. Its usage is expected to rise, especially because the industry is pushing for higher emission cuts from shipping.

Participants in the shipping industry are exploring solutions to meet the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) net zero carbon emission target by 2050, with operational safety and costs surfacing as some of the key concerns of alternative fuel adoption.

"This knowledge will empower stakeholders across the ecosystem, from shipowners and charterers to biofuels producers and regulators – to make more informed business and policy decisions," GCMD chief executive officer Lynn Loo said. "Ultimately, this pilot will lead to greater confidence for biofuels use at scale, accelerating progress towards decarbonising the maritime industry."

Argus assessed B24 biofuel bunker prices at $744.25-759.25/t delivered on board (dob) Singapore on 8 May.


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