Dutch coalition, Maersk partner in maritime biofuel project

Triple E Press Release Biofuel

The following is text of a news release from Maersk:

(COPENHAGEN, Denmark) — Convinced of the urgency to act on climate, a group of Dutch multinationals – FrieslandCampina, Heineken, Philips, DSM, Shell and Unilever – all members of the Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition (DSGC), will join forces with A.P. Moller-Maersk to take a tangible step toward the decarbonization of ocean shipping.

A pilot, using up to 20 percent sustainable second-generation biofuels on a Triple-E ocean vessel, will sail 25,000 nautical miles from Rotterdam to Shanghai and back on biofuel blends alone, a world’s first at this scale, saving 1.5 million kilograms CO2 and 20,000 kilograms of sulfur.

DSGC members and Maersk all agree that tackling harmful emissions related to shipping is urgently needed, and that cross-industry collaboration is required to develop, test and implement new solutions. The DSGC members, many of which are customers to Maersk, played a critical role. They initiated and sponsor the pilot. Shell acted as the fuel supplier for the pilot, and Maersk played the role as operating partner. 

Sustainably sourced second-generation biofuels are just one possible solution for the decarbonization of ocean shipping. Longer term breakthroughs in fuel and technical development (i.e. e-fuels) and the investment into commercial supply chains are needed to achieve significant emissions reductions. 

“DSGC companies join in action to contribute to the U.N. SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). With this initiative we focus on climate action (SDG 13). We have taken the initiative to partner with A.P. Moller-Maersk on this important effort,” said Jan Peter Balkenende, chairman of the DSGC. “This pilot testing biofuel on a cross ocean shipping lane marks an important step. However, many more innovations are urgently needed. These can only be successfully developed, tested and implemented in industry collaborations like this.”

“To reach our net zero CO2 target by 2050, in the next 10 years we need big breakthroughs," said Soren Toft, chief operating officer, A.P. Moller-Maersk. "Maersk cannot do this alone. That is why this collaboration with DSGC and its members is such an important step in identifying and bringing low carbon solutions to life. It laid the foundation for how cross-industry partners can work together to take steps toward a more sustainable future. We welcome others to join in our efforts, as this journey is just beginning.” 

“Biofuels are one of the viable solutions that can be implemented in the short and medium term," Toft added. "Through this pilot, we aim to learn more about using biofuels in general, and to understand the possibilities around increasing its usage in a sustainable and economical way.” 

Shipping accounts for 90 percent of transported goods and 3 percent of total global CO2 emissions, and is set to rise to 15 percent by 2050 if left unchecked. The CO2 savings of this journey alone equates to the annual CO2 emitted by over 200 households in a year or 12 million km traveled in an average car, which is 300 times around the world. The voyage will take place between March and June 2019. 

About the biofuel used

The biofuel used in this pilot is a so-called "second generation" biofuel, produced from waste sources, in this case used cooking oil (UCOME oil). Second-generation biofuel means the biofuel comes from waste products. This can be used cooking oil, forest residues, wood chip waste etc. This biofuel is ISCC certified, meaning that the whole chain is third party certified. The power of biofuel is that it can to a certain extent replace/blend with conventional (fossil) fuels without having to make big technical adaptations to the engines or require a complete new engine etc.

By Professional Mariner Staff