NYK charts course for full-scale biofuel trials in 2024

Starting in fiscal 2024, Japanese shipping company NYK plans to launch full-scale trials of the long-term use of biofuels in navigating its existing heavy oil-fired vessels.

Image credit: NYK

Biofuels are produced from biological sources (biomass), such as waste cooking oil, and are considered to have net-zero CO2 emissions during combustion.

Biofuels are gaining traction in the maritime industry also due to their compatibility with existing infrastructure enabling vessels fitted with heavy oil–fired engines with an option to operate more sustainably.

NYK has already conducted several biofuel trials over the past couple of years. Specifically, the company’s data shows that since the 2019 fiscal year, short-term biofuel trials were carried out in about 10 vessels.

“While NYK has confirmed the safety of short-term biofuel use, NYK has not verified the impact of biofuels on the ship’s main engine, generator, motor, fuel supply system, etc., and the quality of biofuels after a certain storage period,” NYK said, adding that it had to ensure the stability of biofuel procurement when used in more vessels.

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“Moving forward from the previous short-term trials, NYK will comprehensively verify the safety and stable procurement of biofuels when used over a long period. Through this trial, NYK will establish a safe navigation system using biofuels and promote biofuel development to achieve the group’s goal of a 45% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by fiscal 2030 compared to fiscal 2021,” NYK pointed out.

In this trial, NYK plans to use biofuel continuously for three months on multiple vessel types. After that, NYK will gradually extend biofuel use for a longer period for further validation.

The use of biofuel is part of NYK’s aim to reduce GHG emissions by 45% from the fiscal 2021 level by fiscal 2030.