Singing a song in Singapore: GoodFuels Marine, BHP, and MPA collaborate on biofuels during closed-door roundtable

September 24, 2017 |

In Singapore, a closed-door biofuel roundtable organized by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, BHP and GoodFuels Marine, brought some excitement to the maritime biofuels world – almost as much excitement as when we first saw Monty Python’s the Knights of the Roundtable song and dance.

While we didn’t hear about any dancing or singing at the roundtable, it was thrilling nonetheless with a meeting in one of the world’s largest shipping hubs that brought together shipowners and others in maritime to network, share insights into the use of biofuels to meet increasingly stringent environmental regulations, and explore areas of collaboration.

And collaborate they did! One of the roundtable results was a signed Letter of Intent by MPA, BHP and GoodFuels to collaborate on a biofuels pilot project in Singapore, which is expected to be carried out early next year.

The roundtable’s goal was to drive discussions on the use of biofuels as a sustainable alternative fuel for the future of shipping, and like the Knights of the Roundtable, they certainly had all the right players at the table.

The Nanyang Technological University soon to be established center of excellence focusing on maritime environment and energy, with support from MPA and the Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI), was also present to seek collaborative partnerships with shipowners to deepen Singapore’s capabilities on the maritime environment and bio-energy front.

Several other shipowner companies were at the roundtable as well, including Berge Bulk, Boskalis, Oldendorff, Mitsui OSK Lines and NYK Bulkship.

The pilot project

While other shipowners may get involved, BHP, an Australian-based extractor and processor of minerals, oil and gas which has marketing and sales based in Singapore, will be the first to get their vessel refueled or bunkered in Singapore as part of the pilot project.

GoodFuels CEO, Dirk Kronemeijer, told the Digest over the weekend, “We believe that biofuels will play a crucial role to help tackle the most crucial challenge and emission parameter of the next decade in shipping: CO2. We are therefore on a mission to roll out our service points across the globe as fast as we can together with our partners and clients. Singapore as largest bunkering hub in the world is therefore a logical first step in Asia for us – based on a great first client helping to pave the low Carbon way for us: BHP.”

The pilot project will be implemented in early 2018 so that biofuels would be available in the port of Singapore. The feedstock for the pilot project will be used cooking oil (UCO) and project completion is not confirmed yet as it will depend on the delivery frequency and volumes, according to a Digest interview with Isabel Welten, GoodFuels’ Business Development Manager Marine.

Welten also confirmed with the Digest that the long-term plan is to get the project to commercialization and is the reason why MPA is involved. “The pilot will serve as a means for the shipowner(s) to get acquainted with biofuels,” Welten told the Digest. “Based on the market demand, we aim to get some local incentives in place.”

What the good knights say

One of the reasons we are so enthusiastic about this roundtable is because all the players around the table are pretty darn excited too, and for good reason since Singapore is one of the largest shipping hubs in the world.

Tan Suan Jow, Director (Sustainability Office) of MPA, said in their press release, “As the largest bunkering hub in the world, Singapore is working towards providing cleaner alternative sources of fuel to cater to the future energy needs of the global shipping industry. Among the topics discussed at the roundtable included barriers to the use to biofuels and how these could be addressed.” He also said they had ongoing efforts towards a clean, green and community-oriented port as MPA prepares for Singapore’s future port.

Who is MPA anyway? The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore has a mission to develop Singapore as a premier global hub port and international maritime center, and to advance and safeguard Singapore’s strategic maritime interests. MPA takes on the roles of Port Authority, Port Regulator, Port Planner, IMC Champion, and National Maritime Representative.

Andrew Tan, Chief Executive of MPA said, “The roundtable comes at an opportune time in light of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 0.5% global sulphur cap on marine fuels which will come into effect from 2020, as well as IMO’s longer term plan to lower carbon emissions for shipping. MPA welcomes dialogues across stakeholders and will continue to work with relevant parties as we prepare the bunkering industry for the future.”

Abdes Karimi, Manager Ocean Freight Operations and Sustainability of BHP, said, “In a world fighting to combat climate change, it is important that marine biofuels get in the ‘evoked set’ of options for shippers to choose from. Today, BHP is proud to have taken the leading role in this initiative.”

And of course, Kronemeijer at GoodFuels said, “We are very proud that our ‘biofuel-footprint’ of supply locations and sustainable customers is spreading from Europe to the largest bunkering port in the world and our first Asian partner as well. From now on, sustainable marine biofuels are available in Singapore for those ship and freight owners that want to eliminate their carbon and sulphur emissions.”

The excitement builds upon other actions by head knight, GoodFuels

We see GoodFuels as one of the leaders in this roundtable because of other recent actions they have taken to push biofuels further in the marine industry.

This June, as reported in Biofuels Digest, HEINEKEN Netherlands, Nedcargo and GoodFuels launched a pilot to demonstrate a sustainable drop-in marine fuel on-board of the ‘For Ever’ – an inland barge dedicated to transport Heineken export beer, from the HEINEKEN brewery in Zoeterwoude to the deep-sea terminals in Rotterdam. The advanced marine fuel supplied by GoodFuels contains 30% biofuel and thereby reduces CO2-emissions by more than 25%, whilst also sharply reducing local emissions as nitrogen and particulate matter. The project will showcase the possibility of reducing emissions of inland waterway transport without any vessel modification. That’s pretty impressive in our book.

GoodFuels has also taken the lead by developing the GoodShipping Program to help cargo owners boost biofuel uptake, as reported in the Digest in May. The groundbreaking initiative enables ocean cargo owners with a quick, transparent and convenient way to reduce their carbon footprint – from the industry itself, and not from alternative mitigation schemes – by driving ‘purchasing’ biofuel in an initiative that is designed to accelerate low-carbon fuels in the marine fuel mix.

The ‘GoodShipping Program’ comes at a pivotal moment for an industry that has always been regarded environmentally friendly (on a ton-mile basis). Following the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, in which shipping emissions were omitted, alongside aviation, the industry has been exposed and does not have a clear target or approach for its GHG, or carbon, reduction. It is expected that emissions from shipping will increase with 50% to 250% by 2050, which would mean the sector becomes responsible for more than 15% of the total global CO2-emissions.

The excitement continues as we reported in March that GoodFuels won Port of Amsterdam’s tender for its fleet of five patrol vessels. The vessels will now run on fuel containing 30% biodiesel, reducing CO2 emissions by 25% compared to fossil diesel. Kronemeijer said, “Port of Amsterdam and Port of Rotterdam have actively supported the development of marine biofuels from the beginning. This is why we are especially pleased that, after a successful pilot, Port of Amsterdam will be able to reduce the CO2 emissions of its own patrol vessels by 25%. We are in turn committed to further invest in the Port in the field of the storage, production and distribution of sustainable marine biofuels in order to accelerate the development towards clean and low-carbon shipping.”

As reported in the Digest in September, 2016, Boskalis and GoodFuels Marine successfully tested sustainable wood-based drop-in biofuel called UPM BioVerno in a dredger. The fuel supplied by Finnish UPM Biofuels was the first ever biofuel derived from wood residue used in a marine fleet. Boskalis vessel “EDAX”, a 1696 deadweight tonne (DWT) cutter suction dredger, successfully used the fuel in bio/fossil blends going up to 50% as it worked on phase one of the Marker Wadden project in the first half of 2016. This resulted in a CO2 saving of 600Mt over the operating period.

Check out the Digest’s 2016 8-Slide Guide to GoodFuels Marine.

The bottom line

Working on a pilot project in one of the world’s largest shipping hubs is a big deal and something worth singing and dancing about. With the MPA, BHP and GoodFuels working together to get biofuels more of a reality on shipping and maritime vessels, we foresee more exciting things happening to bring more sustainable biofuels to an industry that really needs it. Given GoodFuels recent history on other projects, they seem to really be moving the needle forward and it’s just a matter of time before we see biofuels more intricately connected with the maritime industry like it has been with the aviation industry.

We see this as that middle step for the maritime industry – it’s beyond talks and now moving into action with pilot projects and real deals. Based on our communications with GoodFuels, stay tuned as we see a lot more movement coming with maritime biofuels and we expect more news coming from them in the next few months.

Tags: , , , , ,

Category: Top Stories

Thank you for visting the Digest.