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Tuesday, December 8, 2020 

Ro-ro operator DFDS says that in 2019 it invested in start-up biofuel company MASH Energy as a step towards its decarbonisation goals, which can initially be met through replacing fossil fuels with sustainable alternatives.

MASH Energy produces biofuel from leftover nut shells after harvesting in India. Its second-generation biofuel is made by pyrolysis, a process where organic materials are chemically decomposed at elevated temperatures without oxygen. The biofuel is a B11 blend, consisting of 11% biofuel and 89% DMA (Marine Diesel). Being 100% ISO8217 and RMG180 compliant, it is officially fit for use on ships.

According to DFDS, if such new fuels are to have a chance of working on the scale that the shipping industry needs, production needs to be thoroughly tested. MASH Energy is to supply its biofuel for testing in Alfa Laval’sfour-stroke test engine in Aalborg, as part of the ShippingLab project - a joint project where partners solve maritime challenges that are too big to handle singly.

DFDS Innovation Lead Jakob Steffensen said: “Biofuel is a clean energy source and can be used in combination with other fuels, to fire up engines. On its own, it’s not the most ideal way for shipping to decarbonise, due to the availability of biowaste for its production and the price – it’s roughly four times the price of fossil fuels today. But it is a very good way for us to reduce our environmental footprint here and now, as it requires minimal/no changes to our ships.”

"Working with biofuel towards the goal of reducing emissions from fossil fuels is very interesting,” said Superintendent in DFDS Technical Organisation Nicolai Gjetting Andersen, one of two DFDS members of MASH energy’s Board. “From talking to various stakeholders inside and outside our organisation it is clear there is massive support and great wish to drive the change towards reducing emissions from fossil fuels, even if it is a lengthy and complex challenge. Biofuel is generally becoming a large commodity and is in the long run one of the interim solutions towards reducing CO2 emissions. Unfortunately, existing legislative framework does not support this and biofuel does not currently have a positive impact on DFDS' CO2 emissions."

Following the initial testing, the next goal is to trial the B11 biofuel on DRDS vessel Pearl Seaways. DFDS has recently been granted the permission to carry out this test from the Danish Maritime Authority.

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