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Thursday, June 3, 2021 

Italian shipping company d’Amico, has brought together a joint industry project (JIP), working with Trafigura, ABS, RINA, LR FOBAS, the Liberian Registry and MAN Energy Solutions, to test biofuel blends (B30) derived from advanced second-generation feedstock on board of one of its LR1 product tankers.

The JIP will calculate possible CO2 emissions reduction through a 'Lifecycle strategy', using the so-called well-to-wheel (WTW) analysis, from raw material acquisition to its burning while the ship is underway, to compare the performance of biofuels with traditional fossil fuels. The project will assess the stability and degradation of the biofuel in relation to storage time and NOx emissions to confirm that the use of biofuel B30 will not affect the Tier II certification of the engines, and to measure the effects and improvements on EEXI and CII indexes adopted as short-term measures by the IMO.

The tests will be undertaken on d’Amico’s vessels, Cielo Bianco and Cielo di Rotterdam and the low carbon alternative fuel of second generation (EU renewable energy directive (Red I/II) compliant and ISSC certified) will be supplied by bunkering supply company TFG Marine in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) region.

This important project shows that the paradigm of different players acting separately is shifting towards a collaborative effort, working together to find the best solutions to reach joint decarbonisation goals. The combined strategic vision and technical capabilities of charterers, original engine manufacturers (OEM), shipowners, fuel suppliers and regulatory bodies will allow to better exploit, study and scout all options for the decarbonisation of shipping.

The pre-trial phase of the project started in March 2021 when details of the nature and composition of the biofuel blends were made available and the establishment of the protocols relating to fuel testing, inspections, NOx measurement and sea trials. It was also necessary to prepare the risk assessment, the MOC, to adapt the swap procedures and to develop a consistent crew training program. 

The second phase, the trials on board the vessels, is scheduled for mid-June 2021, in accordance with the planned trade routes of the vessels. This phase will start as soon as the bunkering is completed, and all protocols have been defined and approved by the OEM and the class societies involved. The trial phase will monitor the behaviour of the main engine, the diesel generators and the boilers in burning the biofuel blend, to evaluate operation, performance, and fuel storage capability. NOx will also be measured.

In the post-trial phase, the reported emissions will be processed and analysed with particular focus on CO2 and NOx and their effects on the EEXI and CII, according to the existing draft guidelines.

Salvatore d’Amico, Fleet Director, d’Amico Group, said: “We are proud to announce that this project was decided in the 'Carbon War Room' we set up in the fleet management dept to exploit, study and scout all options for the shipping decarbonisation. The room was created involving managers from different departments: Technical, HSQE, Fleet performance monitoring, New buildings supervision to gather ideas, proposals engaging the OEMs and regulatory bodies in the Company strategy.”

Giosuè Vezzuto, EVP Marine, RINA Services, added: “We understand the need for solutions that bring immediate results in reducing CO2 emissions. This trial is proof that the industry as a whole is committed to act and make the transition effective immediately, while working on totally carbon free fuels. Biofuels could be one of the solutions to update the existing fleet between now and 2030”.

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