Stena Bulk’s zero-emission vessels on water by 2035, GoodFuels, Tufton’s 100% biofuel voyage and more maritime magic

September 26, 2021 |

From Sweden comes news that one of the world’s leading tanker shipping companies, Stena Bulk, signed the Global Maritime Forum’s Call to Action for Shipping Decarbonization with milestones that include three carbon neutral-ready methanol powered MR tankers into Stena Bulk’s fleet, exploring low carbon fuels and the feasibility of using carbon capture to cut emissions further, having all new builds carbon neutral-ready by 2030 and zero-emission vessels on the water by 2035 and more. From Netherlands came news that Tufton completed a successful voyage using 100% sustainable marine biofuel in partnership with marine biofuels supplier GoodFuels.

But that’s not the only news from the maritime industry on biofuels.

In today’s Digest, a look at what Stena Bulk’s actions for biofuels in the shipping industry means and what exactly those actions are, Tufton’s biofuel voyage, marine biofuel trials going on around the world by other companies, fuels and feedstocks from biodiesel to ammonia as marine fuel, and more.

Stena Bulk signs Global Maritime Forum’s Call to Action for Shipping Decarbonization

In Sweden, Stena Bulk, one of the world’s leading tanker shipping companies, became a signatory of the Global Maritime Forum’s Call to Action for Shipping Decarbonization ahead of COP26 with milestones that include three carbon neutral-ready methanol powered MR tankers into Stena Bulk’s fleet, exploring low carbon fuels and the feasibility of using carbon capture to cut emissions further, and having all new builds carbon neutral-ready by 2030 and zero-emission vessels on the water by 2035, and more.

Erik Hånell, President and CEO, Stena Bulk, said:

“Today, Stena Bulk has joined other industry leaders in a worldwide call to action for shipping decarbonisation ahead of COP26. During COP26, for the first time, shipping will be included in global climate discussions. We believe it is vital to join other voices and show that shipping is seriously committed to decarbonisation and that, together, our community can speak with a united voice in favour of sustainability innovation.”

“Stena Bulk is proud to constantly push boundaries and that is why we are continuously investing in technological development to champion sustainability excellence. Global Maritime Forum’s Call to Action is fully aligned with our own sustainability ambitions and objectives, and is a natural initiative for us to be involved in. As part of our participation in this call to action, Stena Bulk has committed to specific targets and deadlines that have been approved by the Global Maritime Forum and outlined in the Call to Action document.”

“These include several milestones that are already incorporated in the decarbonisation roadmap that we unveiled in April 2021, such as the incorporation of three zero-carbon ready methanol powered MR tankers into the Stena Bulk’s fleet, and the exploration – in collaboration with our joint-venture partners – of low carbon fuels and the feasibility of using carbon capture to further cut emissions.”

“While we remain on track to achieve carbon neutral operations by 2040 and become a completely net-zero business by 2050, Stena Bulk’s signing of this Call to Action also includes further commitments from us, such as the following:”

  • Performing three trials of sustainable 2nd and 3rd generation biofuels, offering it to our customers as an option on individual voyages and across our full fleet.
  • Evaluating the scalability and availability of biomass resources for multiple applications, together with the oil and gas majors.
  • Conducting two projects with local universities looking at the technical challenges of using hydrogen and ammonia on tankers, as well as doing research with a group of our customers into ammonia production and supply more generally.
  • Developing a digital platform to track, share, and evaluate all emissions on individual voyages, making it available to other ship owners, operators, and charterers.

“We will also continue to develop other ambitious partnerships and evaluate technologies and fuels through a range of pilot projects. Our goal remains to have all of our newbuilds carbon-neutral ready by 2030 and to have zero-emission vessels on the water before 2035.”

“Stena Bulk has always supported the idea that shipping needs to embrace more partnership and collaboration to tackle the industry’s biggest challenges; that is why we remain committed to developing ambitious partnerships and evaluating technologies and fuels through a range of pilot projects. The Global Maritime Forum’s Call to Action for Shipping Decarbonization positions us perfectly to join forces with other industry leaders from the entire maritime ecosystem to make real progress in the decarbonisation of our sector.”

Watch their video: Call to Action for Shipping Decarbonization here.

Tufton and GoodFuels successfully complete biofuel voyage to accelerate sustainability in shipping

In the Netherlands, as part of its long-term sustainability strategy, Tufton completed a successful voyage using 100% sustainable marine biofuel in partnership with leading marine biofuels supplier GoodFuels, together with Stolt Tankers and the technical managers Synergy Group.

The sustainable biofuel, derived from feedstocks such as used cooking oil and waste animal fats, was used on board the 20,762 DWT chemical tanker Monax on its voyage from North Europe to Canada. This sustainable biofuel delivers a well-to-exhaust CO2 reduction of between 80% and 90% compared to fossil fuel equivalents, without requiring modifications to the engine or the fuel infrastructure.

Monax is one of the seven Tufton vessels that operate under the Stolt Tankers Joint Service (STJS) Deep-Sea Fleet pool. The use of this biofuel is in line with both Tufton’s and Stolt Tankers’ ambition to significantly reduce the carbon emissions from their combined fleets. As part of the pooling arrangement, both organisations have also agreed to partner on sustainability and environmental projects, including this biofuel testing programme.

Andrew Hampson, Chief Executive Officer at Tufton, said: “I am pleased to see the positive results of the biofuel powered voyage. Tufton is committed to increasing the use of zero emission fuels in commercial operation over time as a step towards transitioning the portfolio fully to zero-carbon energy sources by 2050.”

Also commenting on the announcement, Bart Hellings, Chief Operating Officer at GoodFuels, said: “As a market leader and pioneer, supplying a credible sustainable solution to Tufton demonstrates how our sustainable marine biofuels can unlock an immediate decarbonisation impact, while also supporting the wider shipping industry to meet its environmental regulatory targets. The time for action on shipping’s carbon emissions is now, and Tufton is joining the ranks of our marine biofuel pioneers committed to sustainability.”

Lucas Vos, President, Stolt Tankers said: “It’s great to see the positive results of the biofuel trial and I am pleased that Stolt Tankers and Tufton have taken the first step in our mutual commitment to protecting the environment. We are committed to working with our partners to explore new technologies as the industry moves towards a carbon-neutral future while continuing to provide customers with the highest levels of quality and safety that they expect from us.”

Monax is managed by Synergy Group, whose ship’s management team and onboard crew ensured continuous operational safety and optimal performance during the trial. Captain Rajesh Unni, Founder & CEO of Synergy Group, one of the world’s leading ship managers, said: “This project enabled us to deploy our full range of technical expertise and also demonstrated that a cleaner shipping industry is both feasible and achievable, even in the short-term. Biofuels have a vital role to play in decarbonising shipping as we establish ourselves as a truly sustainable industry.”

Watch the bunkering video here.

This news comes after GoodFuels news from July, as reported in The Digest, that they and independent dry bulk owner Berge Bulk had successful completion of bunkering of advanced marine biofuel from 100% sustainable feedstock onboard the 181,403 dwt bulk carrier Berge Tsurugi.

Marine fuel trials

Recently there has been other marine fuel news with a new ShippingLab project that will create an internationally recognized platform for testing and validating new fuel solutions that can aid in significantly reducing or eliminating GHG emissions from the shipping industry, as reported in The Digest in April. The purpose of the platform is to assist the global transition towards sustainable marine fuels by creating a bridge between prospective suppliers of sustainable fuels and the marine industry.

Behind the validation platform is a number of important stakeholders, namely Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, Alfa Laval, MAN Energy Solutions, DS Norden and A.P. Møller – Mærsk and the supplier of biofuel MASH Energy. And as reported in The Digest in July, bp joined the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping committing to a long-term collaboration on the development of new alternative fuels and low carbon solutions for the shipping industry.

Also in April, The Digest reported that Toyota Tsusho Petroleum will conduct biodiesel as marine fuel trials in Singapore. This is the first trial of its kind conducted in Singapore and by a Japanese company. TTP is a physical bunker supplier and operates bunker barges in the Port of Singapore. The trial will be undertaken in collaboration with industry and academia under the support of Singapore authority from April to September 2021.

During the trial over approximately six months, Toyota Tsusho Petroleum will verify technical matters, such as the oxidation and storage stability of biofuels, and acquire knowledge by measuring ship emissions. If these initiatives lead to procurement and regular use of biodiesel, which is expected to help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, this will contribute to solving issues in the maritime transport industry toward decarbonization.

In April, The Digest reported that Stolt Tanker teamed with GoodFuels to trial marine biofuel in the chemical tanker Stolt Inspiration’s Rotterdam-to-Houston run with a 37,000 dwt vessel.

Biofuel maker SK Chemicals started tests on blending its biodiesel with petroleum-based fuels to create low-sulphur marine oil that will comply with new International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) green shipping fuel rules set to kick in in January 2020, as reported by The Digest in December 2019.

SK Chemicals is also looking at increasing biofuels output by 50% in order to meet demand from the shipping industry, An Jung-bum, head of the company’s energy& petrochemical business, told Reuters. “We see there will be great needs for marine biofuels because they are sulphur-free and that gives an edge to biofuels,” An told Reuters.

How about ammonia, hydrogen, LNG as marine fuel?

Hydrogen as marine fuel is something Stena Bulk is looking at as the company unveiled their InfinityMAX concept vessel design, as reported in The Digest in March 2021. The InfinityMAX concept, which is designed to carry both dry and wet cargoes in modular compartments, is built with several new core principles that, accumulatively, represent a paradigm shift in cargo transportation.

In a proposed advancement that could be considered as impactful as containerisation was for intermodal freight trade, the creation of standardised and modular cargo units that can carry dry bulk, liquid bulk or liquified gas products – such as methane, hydrogen or ammonia – will significantly streamline the process of transporting wet and dry bulk cargoes.

In August 2020, The Digest reported that Alfa Laval, Hafnia, Haldor Topsoe, Vestas, and Siemens Gamesa issued a report “Ammonfuel – an industrial view of ammonia as a marine fuel” providing a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the applicability, scalability, cost, and sustainability of ammonia as a marine fuel.

The report describes ammonia as an attractive and low risk choice of marine fuel both in the transition phase towards a more sustainable shipping industry and as a long-term solution. It also covers all aspects of the process of turning ammonia into marine fuel, including conventional and future green ammonia production, experience regarding safety with ammonia from other areas, the logistics of providing ammonia where it is needed, and the application on board the ship. It focuses on cost, availability, safety, technical readiness, emissions, and the elimination of risks related to future environmental regulations and requirements. Based on industrial expertise, the report concludes that ammonia is an attractive and low risk marine fuel, applicable both in the transition phase towards a more sustainable shipping and as a long-term solution.

Equinor is using liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a fuel, and during 2021 it will introduce large-scale use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as a fuel, as reported by The Digest in June 2020. It has plans to boost low-carbon and zero-carbon marine fuels and set some serious goals lilke by 2030 halving maritime emissions in Norway compared to 2005 emissions and by 2030, escalating its production and use of low-carbon fuels and by 2050, strongly increase production and use of zero-emission fuels. Equinor has worked systematically on reducing its carbon intensity by developing new types of vessels and using alternative fuels in close collaboration with the industry.

Bottom Line

We’ve seen tons of sustainable aviation fuel news lately but it’s also good to see some movement forward with biofuels and sustainable marine fuel. While the acronym SMF hasn’t quite caught on like SAF has, there’s hope for the future of more sustainable marine fuels, especially considering how large the maritime shipping industry is today.

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