Photo: d'Amico

d’Amico-led biofuel trial confirms positive reduction in CO2 emissions

The joint industry project launched in June 2021 to test biofuel blend (B30) derived from renewable feedstock to power a d’Amico Group LR1 product tanker, showed positive findings in terms of the reduction of CO2 emissions, reduced carbon intensity, and stable NOx emissions.

Illustration. Photo: d’Amico

The results of the trials showed that the biofuel B30 blend is a viable solution to comply with EU Fuel regulations being introduced from 1 January 2025 on the use of renewable and low-carbon fuels in maritime transport.

The trials also showed that depending on the scale-up of feedstock production worldwide, adding the biofuel blend as a “drop in” to traditional maritime fuels is a viable measure to reduce emissions.

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Following these results and ahead of the new regulations, the d’Amico Group has certified through the flag administration all its LR1 vessels to operate permanently with the B30 biofuel blend.

The group also intends to certify its entire fleet and to test biofuel B40 and B50 following the same methodology during 2022.

The trial followed the appropriate EU Fuel regulations/guidelines on calculating CO2 emissions using well-to-wake analysis. The results were:

  • a 4.3% reduction of CO2 emissions per ton of fuel and a resulting CII (gCO2/dwt tonne mile) of 3.99, with an improvement of 3.5% using very low sulphur fuel oils allowing an “A” vessel rating until 2026.
  • a confirmation from class and flag state that the biofuel blend B30 does not affect the Tier II certification of the engines for NOx compliance. Both main engines and diesel generators were tested for NOx compliance using the data measured allowed by the NOx technical code.
  • an effective CO2 emissions reduction per ton of fuel by 25.3%, applying the Defra methodology. This methodology was used in anticipation of the approval of the WTW analysis framework by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and awaiting from the IMO clear indications on which methodology will be applied.

The trials were conducted from 19 June to 6 July 2021 on board the d’Amico Group LR1 product tanker vessel M/T Cielo di Rotterdam. The biofuel blend B30 was supplied by Trafigura maritime fuel supply and procurement joint venture TFG Marine in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) region.

The project demonstrated how industry players are increasingly working collaboratively to reach joint decarbonization goals. The combined strategic vision and technical capabilities of charterers, original engine manufacturers, shipowners, fuel suppliers and regulatory bodies confirms how research studies can be shared to explore all options for to decarbonize shipping.

“Biofuel is one of the decarbonization strategies we are exploring in d’Amico for the existing tonnage. While we are closely monitoring the development of alternative fuels of the future, new technology for the propulsion and continue to invest in innovative digital solutions, we do believe that using the biofuel blend can speed up the decarbonization of the maritime transportation with an immediate effect on the existing tonnage,” Salvatore d’Amico, Fleet Director at d’Amico Group, said.

“While there are currently a lot constraints about the green fuel of the future in terms of availability and scale up, the main two regulatory body EU and IMO has not yet lined up the strategy to account for GHG emissions and few technologies to burn the green fuel of the future are still under development, we have the possibility to give an immediate and practical contribution to the reduction of CO2 footprint using the so called “drop in” solutions,” Cesare D’Api, Deputy Technical Director at d’Amico Group, noted.

“The biofuel blends in this respect have the potentiality to comply with forthcoming EU FUEL regulation and to bridge the gap to 2050 as a “hybrid” low carbon fuel provided availability and incentives to uptake it worldwide. Our joint industry project has demonstrated that using the lifecycle analysis, the saving of CO2 is relevant with a good effect also on the short-term measures adopted by the IMO. NOx emissions are not an issue, handling and management are easier. Our LR1 fleet is now ready and certified permanently to burn B30.”

“Carbon-neutral biofuels could offer significant benefits to the marine sector’s drive to decarbonize operations. This trailblazing project will make a vital contribution to our understanding of the potential of biofuels in shipping, its implications for equipment and their impact on decarbonization efforts,” Georgios Plevrakis, ABS Director, Global Sustainability, commented.