Ocean Network Express marine biofuel trial, CMA CGM, REG, Bunker Holding, Safe Bulkers, VARO, Unifeeder in biofuels bunkering bonanza

April 10, 2022 |

Like one of the longest-running, live-action American series on TV, Bonanza, there is a biofuels bonanza going on right now but this time in the shipping and bunkering sector. From horses and western trails to ships and biofuel trials, comes the latest news from Ocean Network Express on their latest successful third trial of biofuel to support decarbonization in the shipping sector.

In today’s Digest, all the details on the ONE marine biofuel trials, 4 other big biofuel bunkering activities going on with companies like CMA CGM, Renewable Energy Group, Bunker Holding Group, Safe Bulkers, Unifeeder, VARO, and more.


Let’s start with ONE – Ocean Network Express – and their successful completion of a third trial of marine biofuel onboard the Singapore Flag M/V NYK Fuji.

M/V NYK Fuji was refuelled with 1,300 metric tonnes of marine biofuel product during bunkering at Port of Singapore, on February 11th, 2022. The vessel, deployed on ONE’s SAS service, fully consumed the biofuel in 45 days. The trial started on February 21st, 2022, after the vessel passed the Malacca Straits, sailing onwards to the ports of Durban and Cape Town, before returning to Southeast Asia.

The biofuel product used was a blend of Brown Grease Methyl Ester (BGME), a type of Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME), with Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil (VLSFO). The BGME used is produced from feedstocks labelled as 100% waste or residue and is certified for its sustainability to internationally recognised standards. It is a sustainable biofuel component that is technically and operationally similar to petroleum-derived marine fuels. The trial required no modifications to marine engines or fuel infrastructure and showed that marine biofuel product can be considered a ‘drop in fuel’ that can help to reduce emissions in shipping.

The blend of BGME with VLSFO was supplied by bp. The use and testing were performed in collaboration with shipowner Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha with the assistance and supervision of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.

This latest biofuel trial once again proves the potential to expand the use of sustainable biofuel components, and marks yet another step forward for ONE’s sustainability initiatives, which include four areas of priority: Environment; Social; Governance; and Operational Excellence. The use of green fuel such as biofuel will help to reduce carbon footprint to achieve its environmental sustainability target of net zero emission by 2050.

You can even watch the video of the ship being supplied with the biofuel here.

Biobunkering is big in 2022

Now let’s move on to other biobunkering news that is making us go “now that’s a bonanza”!

Just in the month of February this year, we had several big bunkering news items, like CMA CGM launching a 32 container ship biobunkering trial, as reported in The Digest. CMA CGM launched a massive six-month bio-bunker trial with 32 container ships together with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. The first vessel to participate in the trial, CMA CGM’s 10,640 TEU container ship, APL Paris, was already bunkered with biofuel on Wednesday using ship-to-containership loading and discharging. The vessels fueled in Singapore will be fueled with a 24% blend of biofuel from UCOME. Different sized vessels traveling the key Asia-South America, Asia-Africa, Asia-Oceania, Asia-Mediterranean, North Europe–Oceania and North Europe-North America trade lanes will participate in the trial.

Also in February, let’s not miss that Bunker Holding Group, the world’s largest supplier and trader of marine fuels, and Renewable Energy Group entered into a strategic global collaboration agreement to further develop the U.S. and EU marine markets for sustainable bio-based diesel.

Partnering REG’s expertise in bio-based diesel with Bunker Holding’s global reach will allow the companies to play a critical role in transitioning the shipping industry to new and more sustainable energy sources. This collaboration agreement is initially focused on opportunities in North America and Europe, where trials of B20 and B30 are being run in high-traffic regions of both continents.

For REG, this agreement continues its efforts to expand product offerings with further reach into the approximately 70 billion gallon, or 230 million metric tons, global marine market and is a clear signal of the company’s mission to enable a cleaner world and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. REG biodiesel is the clean fuel option for many sectors, including on-road transportation, marine and rail, and can help companies reach sustainability targets without any major equipment modifications or technology investments.

And yep, we are still talking about February here when we mention Safe Bulkers Inc. which is assessing the use of biofuels as alternative fuels too in their biobunker trials. A number of pilot projects have been designed to test the operational performance and the interaction of biofuels with the vessel’s main engine and diesel generators operations and assess the CO2 emissions reduction.

The first pilot project was carried out in M/V Troodos Oak which received 346 metric tons of B20, consisting of 20% Spent Bleaching Earth Oil mixed with conventional Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil (“VLSFO”). The project was performed in cooperation with vessel’s charterer Cargill, Cargill Marine Fuels and Oilchart as suppliers of the blended bio bunkers, the vessel’s classification society Lloyds Register (“LR”) and Cyprus Flag.

And how about Unifeeder which bunkered its first 100% biofuel from VARO Energy (“VARO”) in the Port of Rotterdam – also in February! This was the first biofuel collaboration between Unifeeder and VARO, which supports both companies’ ambition to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of European transportation and improve the environmental impact of the shipping industry. VARO’s advanced biofuels are produced from certified feedstocks labeled as waste or residue. Biofuel B100 reduces CO2 emissions up to 90% well-to-exhaust and eliminates SOX emissions almost entirely.

Bottom Line

Bonanza literally means a jackpot, a goldmine, a prize of some kind. And while many of us have known for a long time that biofuels is extremely valuable like a goldmine, in so many ways (people, planet, profit, bioeconomy, etc.), it’s nice to see the bunkering and shipping industry looking at biofuels as a win-win too as they aim to decarbonize shipping around the globe.

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