• Ron Kotrba

Dubai offers B5 biodiesel blend for traditional wooden ferry boat, or ‘abra,’ operators


Photo: Government of Dubai

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority announced June 6 that it has designated a station at Sabkha Marine Transport Station for supplying “Biodiesel 5,” a blend of 5 percent biodiesel with 95 percent petroleum diesel fuel, to traditional abras operating on Dubai Creek. The low-level biodiesel blend will be available beginning in July.


Abras are wooden boats used as ferries in Dubai. There are 148 traditional abras operated by the private sector on two lines on Dubai Creek, according to RTA, which ferry about 13 million riders annually, or 90 percent of the total number of marine transport riders in Dubai. The existing fleet of traditional abras uses 30-horsepower diesel engines that use more than 290,000 gallons of diesel fuel a year.


The move follows last year’s trial in which five traditional abras were powered by the fuel, which is officially certified in the UAE, in collaboration with ENOC Group.


“To encourage traditional abra operators to use the biofuel for their abras, we offered them a discounted price for biodiesel, compared with the price of regular diesel, in coordination with ENOC Group,” said Mohammed Abu Bakr Al Hashmi, an RTA marine transport director. “This initiative stems from RTA’s standing commitment to have a vital role in implementing the UAE Green Growth Strategy, and accordingly contribute to the fruition of the UAE Vision 2021. The initiative is based on using clean and environmentally friendly biofuel to reduce the carbon footprint and harmful emissions to protect the public health.”


He added that the use of B5 to power traditional abras of the private sector operating on Dubai Creek is optional.


Karl Feilder, CEO of Neutral Fuels, confirmed with Biobased Diesel Daily that his Dubai-based biodiesel production company is supplying the biodiesel used in the 5 percent blend offered by RTA.

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