Biofuels are already a cost-competitive low carbon fuel option for shipping containing no (or only limited) sulphur.
However, a ‘dedicated’ marine low carbon fuel has not yet been developed.
Netherlands Platform Sustainable Biofuels put this message forward in a Presentation Roadmap Sustainable Biofuels for Shipping at the International Conference “Fuels of the Future” in Berlin (22 January 2019).
Further technology development is needed for price competitive renewable fuels, compatible with existing engines. New engines and new vessels have new options.
Marine Fuel sector in the Netherlands
A-typical to other EU Member States, in the Netherlands the annual amount of fuels for international bunkering is larger than the volume for local consumption (in majority for road transport).
In Europe, the Netherlands are no. 1 in bunkering for shipping, followed by Spain and Belgium (see graph).
Biofuel options for shipping
In 2018 the Platform commissioned a review on biofuel options for shipping. International strategy consultancy E4tech executed the study. The report Master Plan for CO2 reduction in the Dutch shipping sector – Biofuels for Shipping is available for free.
E4tech in the study referred to a recent review of around 150 studies – by Bouman et al (2017). Bouwman et al. concluded that biofuels have the highest CO2 emissions reduction potential, when compared to other energy efficiency and alternative fuel options.
E4tech evaluated the biofuel options looking into (i) the readiness level of the fuel production, (ii) compatibility with existing vessel engines and (iii) the carbon reduction of the option. Biofuels based on waste oils and fats can already be used today in low or high blends in existing engines. Biofuels like ethanol or bio-methanol have a potential extensive feedstock base but more development is needed to improve compatibility with existing engines. E4tech points out that for new vessels a methanol- or DME-engine is a lower cost option than a LNG-engine. Obviously, for LNG vessels is bio-LNG a very interesting option.Upgraded Pyrolysis Oil is potentially a very interesting option, since in theory it is possible to produce a price competitive fuel, specifically suitable for deep see vessel engines. (See figures for option perspective for inland/short see shipping and deep-see shipping)
Renewable Energy Directive 2 and Marine Biofuels
The introduction of a 1,2 multiplier for marine biofuels in the new European Energy Directive (RED 2) may have consequences for deployment of biofuels in the different transport markets. The Platform has published a research report that shows how potentially a substantial increase in the level of sustainable marine biofuel adoption may be expected in the Dutch international shipping sector by 2030. (see the share of blue= marine biofuels, in the graph below)
The research report is based on an analysis of University of Utrecht, that has run several scenario’s using the ECN REsolve model.