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Maersk Tankers and BP trial marine biofuel

A new biofuel for the shipping sector has been successfully trialled by BP, using two vessels chartered from Maersk Tankers.

The two ships were fuelled in the Netherlands with the BP Marine B30 biofuel, which is a blend of VLSFO diesel with 30 per cent fatty acid methyl esters (FAME). FAME is mostly produced from renewable oil sources like recycled cooking oil, so it is biodegradable and non-toxic, while still having diesel-like characteristics.

The ships then travelled to West Africa, and during the journey, the performance and reliability of the fuel was monitored for the boiler and the main and auxiliary engines. The fuel tanks were also checked to confirm there were no interchangeability issues when switching fuel type. No adverse consequences of using the fuel were noted. What’s more, BP, which owns the Castrol lubricant brand, says its fuel required no modifications to be made to either the infrastructure or the ships, so it can be used as a drop-in replacement.

In a statement, the Chief Executive of Maersk Tankers, Christian Ingerslev, said that slashing emissions presented a significant challenge for the shipping industry at the moment, adding:

“We are only able to rise to this challenge if we do it in partnerships and explore a multitude of solutions. With BP, we are combining our expertise to play our part in testing and making alternative fuels available.”

Speaking for BP, Executive Vice President Carol Howle pointed to the company’s goal of becoming a net-zero business by 2050 and highlighted the importance of helping the shipping industry to decarbonise.

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