Successful marine biofuel trials conducted by BP and Maersk Tankers

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Maersk Tankers and BP have announced the successful completion of sea trials utilizing biofuel-blended marine fuel in product tankers. The trials demonstrate that biofuels can be used as a drop-in fuel to aid in the decarbonization of the marine industry.

For the trials, two vessels were supplied with BP’s Marine B30 biofuel, made up of 30% fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) blended with very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO). While sailing from Rotterdam to West Africa, tests were conducted on both ships’ main engines, auxiliary engines and boilers to assess reliability and performance of the B30 biofuel. The impact on the vessels’ fuel tanks was also investigated to determine the interchangeability of the fuel.

The pair concluded that no adverse effects to equipment or machinery were observed during or after the trials, and that no modifications to the engine or infrastructure were needed.

The FAME biofuel is mainly produced using recycled cooking oils and renewable oil sources and has similar physical properties to conventionally used diesel. Furthermore, the renewable fuel is non-toxic, biodegradable and the origination and production of feedstocks used to produce it are certified to ensure its sustainability to internationally recognized standards.

For their operated and time-charter vessels that refuel in the Netherlands, BP aims to supply biofuel blends subject to owners’ and Flag-state approval.

“At any one time BP has around 300 ships on the water moving our products around the world,” commented Carol Howle, executive vice president of trading and shipping, BP. “With an ambition to be a net zero company by 2050 and help the world get there too, it’s vital we help decarbonize this hard-to-abate sector. We’re proud to be working with a partner like Maersk Tankers, to develop new alternative fuels and low-carbon solutions that will help accelerate the shipping industry’s energy transition.”

“The need to cut emissions is one of the most important challenges facing shipping right now,” commented Christian Ingerslev, chief executive officer, Maersk Tankers. “We are only able to rise to this challenge if we do it in partnerships and explore a multitude of solutions. With BP, we are combining our expertise to play our part in testing and making alternative fuels available.”

With support from the Danish Maritime Authority, the trials were carried out on product tankers Maersk Cirrus and Maersk Navigator. Both vessels are currently on a time-charter to BP from Maersk Tankers.

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