Photo: Cory

Waste-carrying tug boats to run on biofuel

London-based waste management company Cory has revealed that its entire fleet of tugs will convert to low carbon biofuel.

As disclosed, the move comes after the initial trials resulted in a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 90%.

The biofuel is produced from waste materials such as used cooking oil and waste fats, which do not release any new carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the company claims.

Furthermore, the hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO)is expected to reduce nitrous oxide (NOx) and particulate matter emissions by 19% and 21% respectively, Cory states.

“As a business, we are proud of our stewardship of the Thames and the river’s role in reducing the environmental impact of our operations,” Dougie Sutherland, CEO of Cory said.

“While we know this is a great step forward, we also recognise that using HVO is a temporary measure on the road to net zero, and that is why we are also exploring opportunities for zero carbon marine vessels.”

The company, whose barge fleet transports waste on the river Thames, also announced that it plans to invest £800 million ($1.1 billion) into new projects in London and the South East.

Last year, Cory diverted 731,000 tonnes of residual waste from landfill at its energy-from-waste facility in Belvedere, south-east London, saving around 150,000 tonnes of CO2 from being released. At the same time, the company produced 501GWh of electricity and converted 170,000 tonnes of ash into aggregates.

A growing number of shipping companies in different parts of the industry are continuing to experiment with the use of biofuels, as the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) CO2 reduction deadline approaches.

The IMO has set aggressive targets to decarbonize marine shipping, targeting at least a 50% reduction in GHG emissions from international shipping by 2050, relative to 2008 levels.

A recent study conducted by the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) investigated the potential of marine biofuels which “proved to be very good options because they have zero or very, very low sulfur compared to fossil fuels.”

Among the companies reporting recent tests of the alternative fuel product was Japanese shipping major NYK.

The company recently conducted a trial use of biofuel made from waste cooking oil collected and refined in Singapore.

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