NYK kicks off long-term biofuel trial on its large crude oil tanker

Japanese shipping company NYK has started a long-term biofuel test run on its very large crude oil tanker (VLCC) Tenjun.


As disclosed, the 330-meter long ship received an initial supply of biofuel in Singapore and will continue to use biofuel for approximately three months. The vessel was built in 2008 by IHI Marine United Shipbuilding Corporation.

Biofuels are made from organic resources (biomass) of biological origin, such as agricultural residues and waste cooking oil, and are considered to have virtually zero carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions when combusted, according to NYK.

Although biofuels emit carbon dioxide during combustion, the plants absorb CO₂ and reproduce biomass. Thus, CO₂ emissions during direct combustion are considered to be virtually zero, and biofuels are considered to be a fossil fuel substitute that can become carbon-neutral, NYK noted.

Biofuels can be used in heavy-oil-powered ship engines, which are common on large merchant ships.

Through the test period, the company wants to comprehensively verify the safe and stable procurement of biofuel for long-term use.

The Japanese shipping company recently launched a six-month project trialing the continuous use of biofuels onboard a vessel. This project is in collaboration with the Global Center for Maritime Decarbonization (GCMD), a Singapore-based non-profit organization supporting the decarbonization of the maritime industry.

The findings will be open to the public as guidelines for continuous and extended biofuel use so that this project can contribute to decarbonization by facilitating an energy transition in international shipping.

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