Biodiesel made from used cooking oil (UCO) has successfully fuelled Japanese-registered vessel Frontier Jacaranda on its journey from Singapore to South Africa, in a move that reduced the carrier’s carbon emissions by 5%.
The biofuel was provided by Alpha Biofuels in partnership with miner Anglo American, and made up 7% of the carrier’s total fuel mix. In a statement, Alpha Biofuels said the operation was “instrumental in verifying the stability of the biofuel in storage and its performance as a fuel.”
Indeed the successful expedition is the first of its kind, and offers a promising indication of biofuel’s integration into existing fuel mixes – potentially paving the way for higher percentage blends of the cleaner alternative.
The UCO was collected from kitchens, households and food manufacturers in Singapore, where it was also refined.
“(It is important) that the vegetable oils Singapore cooks with at its Unesco World Heritage-listed hawker centre stalls, along with its highly regarded restaurants, doesn’t go down the drain into grease traps. It is in demand locally and globally as a clean transport fuel” Alpha Biofuels’ statement continued.
Companies throughout the global maritime industry are trialling the use of biofuels in a bid to reduce the sector’s emissions. Among those turning to alternative fuels are two of Japan’s biggest shipping corporations – Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) and NYK (the latter of which is chartered by Anglo American). Anglo American has several other emission-reducing research projects in the pipeline, including substituting traditional marine fuel with ammonia and liquid natural gas (LNG) – with the latter reducing emissions by around 35%.
At the time of Anglo’s partnership with Alpha, Peter Whitcutt, CEO of Anglo American’s Marketing business, released a statement saying: “Low emission ocean freight is crucial in driving the long-term sustainability of the maritime industry. Shaping an effective transition requires a comprehensive framework of complementary solutions, in which alternative marine fuels have an important role to play.”
“The success of this trial marks an important step forward in establishing biofuel as a viable option, aligned with circular economic principles,” he added. “These efforts also reinforce our commitment as an organisation to reduce emissions across the entire value chain, as we work towards carbon neutrality across our operations by 2040.”