Photo: Cielo Bianco; Image credit: d'Amicor Group

d’Amico Group testing biofuel on LR1 product tankers

 d’Amico Group has teamed up with a number of industry majors in a Joint Industry Project (JIP) to test the biofuel blends on board its LR1 product tankers.

The tests will involve biofuel (B30), which is derived from advanced second-generation feedstock. They will be undertaken on d’Amico’s vessels, Cielo Bianco and Cielo di Rotterdam, and the fuel will be supplied by bunkering supply company TFG Marine in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) region.

Cielo Bianco
Cielo Bianco; Image credit: d’Amicor Group

TFG Marine, a joint venture bunker company, launched by Trafigura, Frontline, and Golden Ocean Holdings in 2020, revealed in December 2020 that it was planning to transition to lower carbon fuels, including biofuels, in the first quarter of 2021. The move was announced on the back of successful trials of a marine biofuel for the first time.

The joint industry project brings together d’Amico Group, TRAFIGURA, ABS, RINA, Lloyd’s Register’s Fuel Oil Bunker Analysis Advisory Service (FOBAS), the Liberian Registry and MAN Energy Solutions.

Under the terms of the initiative, the partners will calculate possible CO2 emissions reduction through a “Lifecycle strategy”, using the well-to-wheel analysis, from raw material acquisition to its burning while the ship is underway, to compare the performance of biofuels to traditional fossil fuels.

Moreover, the project will assess the stability and degradation of the biofuel in relation to storage time and NOx emissions to confirm that the use of biofuel B30 will not affect the Tier II certification of the engines, and to measure the effects and improvements on EEXI and CII indexes.

The pre-trial phase of the project started in March 2021 when details of the biofuel blends were made available and the protocols relating to fuel testing, inspections, NOx measurement and the sea trials were established. It was also necessary to prepare the risk assessment, the MOC, to adapt the swap procedures and to develop a consistent crew training program.

The second phase, the trials on board the vessels, is scheduled for mid-June 2021, in accordance with the planned trade routes of the vessels. This phase will start as soon as the bunkering is completed, and all protocols have been defined and approved by the OEM and the class societies involved.

The trial phase will monitor the behaviour of the main engine, the diesel generators and the boilers in burning the biofuel blend, to evaluate operation, performance, and fuel storage capability. NOx will also be measured.

In the post-trial phase, the reported emissions will be processed and analysed with particular focus on CO2 and NOx and their effects on the EEXI and CII, according to the existing draft guidelines.

The project ending is planned for mid July 2021.

“Shipping needs a GHG lifecycle approach to decarbonize itself. In line with our vision, we decided to do such step in the common direction to reduce the carbon foot print by assessing the biofuels as potential low carbon fuel of the future and its effect on the short terms measures adopted by the IMO,” Cesare D’Api, Deputy Technical Director at d’Amico Group, said.

“This project by confirming the technical/safety feasibility in burning the biofuel blends as “drop in” solution, will demonstrate that we have a practical and viable option for the decarbonization which can be handled easily by the crew with no impact on the Nox emissions and without any modification on board.”

“With the forthcoming EEXI and CII requirements expected to be adopted by IMO with entry into force 1/1/2023 biofuel is one of the most viable solutions available,” Thomas Klenum, Senior Vice President, Maritime Operations of LISCR, said.

“International collaboration between high quality stakeholders is the key to unlock the decarbonization potential for new technologies and alternative fuels, and this JIP initiated by d’Amico is an excellent testimony to this fact.”

Kjeld Aabo, Director New Technology 2 stroke promotion at MAN Energy Solutions, said: “Basically MAN-B&W 2 stroke engines is designed for also being able to operation on biofuels. Separate biofuel specifications and guidance for fuel treatment on-board is followed to make the transition from VLSFO to VLSFU and B30 as smooth as possible.”

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