Biofuels Can Lead The Way To Decarbonisation
Changing from a fossil fuel to a methanol based fuel would mean replacing the entire engine, however EMSA (European Maritime Safety Agency) have highlighted how biofuels can lead the way to Decarbonisation.
A report by EMSA argues that biofuel can act as a ‘drop in’ fuel. It can be easily mixed with fossil fuels or replace it all together. This will allow for the global shipping market to slowly phase out fossil fuels.
Due to the nature of some of the biofuels, they offer the possibility to replace traditional fossil fuels without needing to modify the original engines, fuel tanks, pumps or supply system. Everything can remain intact. For fleets all over the world who ship daily, this offers an immediate solution. If the biofuel can be mixed easily with the traditional VLSFO, it means shipping companies can continue to deliver cargo worldwide due to how flexible and cost effective this process is.
Fuels such as XFuel’s marine ISO 8217:2017 is a compliant fuel. They meet the same specifications as fossil fuels. Therefore they can be interchanged and blended without hassle and in the process, reducing carbon emissions.
On A Global Scale
If biofuels can lead the way to decarbonisation, why is this process not already being used worldwide? Feedstock availability! This product is the raw material and the building blocks that make up biofuel. Those building blocks alone can dictate the sustainability and viability of a fuel.
Shipping consumes a lot of fuel on a daily basis. The first generation feedstock used to produce biofuel is primarily crops. If the industry is to move into biofuels we need to learn how to upscape production without it impacting things such as food supplies or ecosystems if scaled up to the kind of output required by the shipping industry.
Another way for biofuels to be made is via waste. This is a second generation biofuel. This would be a more sustainable approach as it comes from waste essentially. However there scale is not there to fulfil the market.
New technology has found a more flexible and abundant feedstock: lignocellulose, or plant-based waste. Lignocellulosic waste biomass is available throughout the world. It is deriven from the waste produced by the manufacturing, building, agricultural, and forestry sectors. Usually this waste is left to decompose.
All of these biofuel methods offer a cost-effective and flexible carbon emissions reduction solution for shipowners, without the need to rebuild the shipping infrastructure.
It is fantastic that there are lots of new green technologies about, however they will take decades to push out on a global scale. Biofuels can lead the way towards decarbonisation almost immediately, as long as there is enough feedstock available to produce it.