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Holland America Line successfully concludes cruise industry’s 1st long-term test of marine biofuel

Photo: Holland America Line

Holland America Line completed the cruise industry’s first multiweek test of biofuels on board Volendam at Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

The 20-day test was conducted in partnership with GoodFuels, a leading producer and supplier of sustainable biofuels for the transportation industry, and Wärtsilä, a global leader in power and propulsion technologies and lifecycle solutions for the marine market.

The assessment was completed Sept. 7.

In the first five days of the test, the ship used a mix of 30 percent biofuel and 70 percent marine gas oil (MGO) in one of its main auxiliary engines.

For the final 15 days of testing, the ship used 100 percent biofuel.

According to GoodFuels, there was a 78 percent decrease in lifecycle CO2 emissions during the final 15 days of trial compared to marine gas oil emissions.

“We were excited to have this opportunity to test a next-generation fuel resource on a Holland America Line ship, and we are very encouraged by the results,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line. “As part of our commitment to sustainability, we have always looked for cutting-edge solutions to environmental challenges that will help us meet Carnival Corp.’s sustainability goals over the coming decades.”

Dutch-flagged Volendam was selected for the test since it was located at the Port of Rotterdam, one of the global ports where GoodFuels operates the infrastructure necessary to provide biofuel waterside fueling services.

There is no significant difference for the ship’s team members in handling regular fuel oil versus biofuel. The use of a drop-in biofuel such as the one tested on Volendam requires no shipboard refitting or special equipment.

The advanced biofuel is derived from feedstocks that are certified as 100 percent waste or residue, with no land-use issues and no competition with food production or deforestation.

“Marine biofuel is already the biggest low-carbon marine fuel in the world and we expect usage to rise sharply to 10 percent of total volume by 2030,” said Dirk Kronemeijer, CEO and founder of GoodFuels.

Ricardo Opperman, managing director of Wärtsilä North America Inc., said, “Our extensive work in testing alternative marine fuels is a central part of our efforts to shape viable decarbonization options for our customers. We are continuously developing our engine technology to accept and retain operational and environmental efficiency levels with various future fuels, including biofuels. These sea trials with 100 percent biofuel will be especially important—for Carnival Corp., for Goodfuels, for Wärtsilä, and for the industry as a whole.”

Holland America Line is the first Carnival Corp. brand to run a long-term 100 percent biofuel shipboard test. Carnival Corp.’s German brand AIDA also partnered with Goodfuels in July to run a blended-biofuel test on board AIDAprima in Rotterdam.

While biofuels have been tested on large diesel engines at shoreside research facilities and on a few cargo ships, these represented the first live tests on working cruise ships.

The two brands’ biofuel tests support the overall environmental mission, goals and aspirations of Carnival Corp. Those include achieving a 40 percent reduction in carbon per available lower-berth-day by 2030; expanding its alternative-fuels strategy across its liquefied natural gas (LNG) program and battery, fuel cell and biofuel capabilities; delivering a 50 percent reduction in absolute air emissions of particulate matter by 2030; and the aspiration to achieve net carbon-neutral operations by 2050.



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