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  • Writer's pictureRon Kotrba

CTI-Maritec provides full range of analytical tests for biodiesel-blended bunker fuel

CTI-Maritec, a provider of comprehensive inspection, testing, certification and consultancy services for the assurance of marine-fuel quality and environmental-regulatory compliance, announced July 8 that it has been offering a full range of biodiesel-blend tests for bunker fuels since early this year.

Since then, CTI-Maritec has tested a number of biodiesel blends in residual marine fuel. The biodiesel blends typically tested have ranged from 20 to 30 percent (B20 to B30).

“In addition to the ISO 8217 parameters, it is highly recommended that biodiesel blends shall also be measured for FAME content and lower calorific value (or net heat of combustion),” CTI-Maritec stated. “Biodiesel blends have lower energy content when compared to conventional fossil fuels and the calculated net specific energy commonly used for fossil fuels may not apply to biodiesel blends. In order to plan for the consumption of biodiesel blend for a voyage and to determine the engine’s performance accurately, lower calorific value (or net heat of combustion) shall be measured. When ordering biodiesel blends, the FAME content is agreed between buyer and seller, therefore it is important to measure the FAME content in order to ensure that the correct FAME content is received as per the biodiesel blend transaction. Use of marine fuel containing FAME onboard ship may potentially pose some operational issues such as microbial growth, oxidative stability and long-term storage stability, and low-temperature operation and corrosion.”

The company added that, in view of the potential operational issues mentioned above, it is advised that vessel owners shall preemptively order optional analysis when routine ISO 8217 analysis indicates elevated values for some critical parameters, as summarized below:

The International Maritime Organization’s Marine Environmental Protection Committee has recently approved the Unified Interpretation of regulation 18.3 of MARPOL Annex VI regarding the use of biofuels, as summarized below:

Regulation 18.3 of MARPOL Annex VI – Use of Biofuels

  • A fuel oil that is a blend of not more than 30 percent by volume of biofuel should meet the requirements of regulation 18.3.1 of MARPOL Annex VI. It is therefore considered to be fuel oil of blends of hydrocarbons derived from petroleum refining and verification of the NOx impacts is not required;

  • And a fuel oil that is a blend of more than 30 percent by volume of biofuel should meet the requirements of regulation 18.3.2 of MARPOL Annex VI. It may also be used without verification of the NOx impacts where the engine is already certified to Annex VI regulation 13 on a DM- or RM-grade fuel, and biofuels can be burnt without changes to the NOx critical components or settings/operating values outside those as given by that engine’s approved NOx Technical File.

CTI-Maritec said it expects in the near future to receive more biodiesel blends for analysis, as more vessel owners will switch to biodiesel blends in order to comply with the regulatory requirements on reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions, especially the reduction of carbon intensity from international shipping.

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