IR trials biofuel in Indian vessels

Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass) has undertaken successful sea trials for two vessels towards use of biofuels in concurrence with the Indian flag administration. The two vessels – Ambuja Mukund and Ambuja Vaibhav, are owned by Ambuja Cements, which is a part of the global conglomerate Lafarge Holcim.

In a bid to move towards reducing GHGs, the trials were carried out and the emission levels for CO2 and NOx at both ballast and loaded voyages were monitored during the trial period.

The results of the trials were found to be satisfactory. The biodiesel blend (B20) was in compliance with MARPOL Annex VI (Reg.14) sulphur content requirements and met SOLAS (Ch. II-2/Reg.4.2.1) in terms of flash point requirements. No increase of NOx was observed with biodiesel blend as compared to LSHSD, rather the emission level was found to be less.

Though the reduction in CO2 was found to be around 7%, the total life cycle reduction of CO2 by Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) was measured to be around 21% as the biodiesel from Soya extract had a reduction of life cycle GHG emissions by 70%.

Based on the trials the Indian Administration has accorded approval of bio-fuels trials for the remaining fleet of vessels of Ambuja Cement which are mainly deployed on the Indian coastal routes.

India’s government has taken a firm stance to reduce the country’s carbon footprint through the implementation of the National Policy on Biofuels, which was approved in 2018, and the policy targets to blend 20% of biofuels into traditional fuels by 2030.

Joint Managing Director of IRClass, Vijay Arora commented, “Sustainability remains at the heart of our work and we are honoured to be part of this ground-breaking exercise. IRClass works closely with the industry for decarbonisation projects, and we would like to thank Ambuja Cement for this initiative. We also thank the Directorate General of Shipping, the flag administration of India whose support and guidance is critical. The efforts of our various teams from Ship Technical Services, Plan Approval Centre (Machinery) and attending Surveyors from Survey Station are also appreciated. We are positive that such progressive steps will lead to discernible reduction in GHG emissions. Sustainable biofuels have great potential to reduce emission levels substantially and once successfully trialled – will pave a cleaner new future for shipping in India”.

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