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  • Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd.

Coastal vessel operated on 24% blend of straight UCO in a 1st for Japan

Photo: Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd.

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. and its group company MOL Coastal Shipping Ltd. announced Nov. 1 that an MOL Coastal Shipping-operated 499 gross-tonnage coastal vessel, the Tetsuun Maru No.1, was successfully operated with used cooking oil (UCO) mixed directly with heavy fuel oil without chemical treatment.

This marked Japan's first initiative to use UCO-blended heavy fuel oil in marine vessels.

Hanwa Co. Ltd. supplied the fuel to the vessel in the Chukyo region as part of a research program on marine applications of biofuels by Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, in cooperation with Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co. Ltd., the cargo shipper.

The vessel operated on the mixture for about a month, plying a route between Mikawa Bay and Tokyo Bay, and reported no flammability problems or other issues.

Until now, the main raw material for biofuels has been fatty acid methyl esters (FAME), also known as biodiesel, which is produced by chemical processing of UCO and methanol.

In this project, UCO was mixed with heavy oil A at a ratio of 24 percent in almost its original form as straight vegetable oil and used in a general-purpose ship type.

Since the UCO underwent no methyl esterification or hydrotreatment, MOL said it is likely to reduce CO2 emissions even more than other biofuels and can be supplied at a lower cost.

Biofuel is positioned as an effective, clean alternative fuel that can be used without changing the specifications of the vessel’s main engines and systems.

As stated in the "MOL Environmental Vision 2.2" updated in April, marine biofuel can be an effective means of reducing CO2 emissions, especially in small coastal vessels that have limited space for tanks and other equipment required for other alternative fuels.

This initiative on coastal vessels follows a sea trial for use of liquefied biomethane fuel conducted in June.

Through these initiatives, the MOL Group said it will contribute to the reduction and decarbonization of ocean transport.



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