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  • Writer's pictureRon Kotrba

Safe Bulkers reports results of 1st marine biofuel pilot with Cargill

Like many shippers, the international marine transport service provider Safe Bulkers Inc. is assessing use of marine biofuels in its vessels. A number of pilot projects at Safe Bulkers have been designed to test operational performance and interaction of biofuels with the main engine and diesel generator operations, and to assess CO2 emissions reductions, according to the company.

“The first pilot project was carried out in M/V Troodos Oak, which received 346 metric tons of Bio-Fuel blend B20, consisting of 20 percent spent bleaching earth oil mixed with conventional very low sulfur fuel oil (VLSFO),” the company stated.

The project was performed in cooperation with the vessel’s charterer, Cargill, as well as Cargill Marine Fuels and Oilchart as suppliers of the blended fuels, the vessel’s classification society Lloyds Register and Cyprus Flag.

Biobased Diesel Daily attempted to clarify with Loukas Barmparis, president of Safe Bulkers, whether the spent bleaching earth oil was blended raw with the VLSFO or esterified to make biodiesel, to which he only responded, “In relation to the biofuel provided by Cargill, [this] was certified under Renewable the Energy Directive (EU) 2018/2001 (RED II) with raw material type (spent bleaching earth) and meets the definition of waste/residue, according to the RED II.”

CO2 emissions reductions from the marine biofuel blend were calculated at between 13.54 and 20 percent compared to straight VLSFO, depending on the method used (e.g., well-to-propeller vs. tank-to-propeller, respectively), according to the company.

In addition, no modifications to existing ship equipment were required, and no operational abnormalities or wear were observed in the main engine or diesel generators, reported Safe Bulkers.

The company stated it will continue to explore the potential use of marine biofuel blends and expand its project with Cargill to include additional vessels and higher biofuel blends, measuring NOx emissions as well.

“The successful pilot project that we have completed with Cargill is encouraging for the use of biofuels as alternative fuels,” Barmparis said. “We will continue to assess their use in parallel to other available technologies targeting to optimize our operations and improve our environmental footprint.”

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