Maersk to trial biofuels in partnership with Dutch consortium

Malcolm Latarche
Malcolm Latarche
ShipInsight

25 March 2019


Biofuel made from used cooking oil is to be trialled by Maersk Triple E vessels in a pilot between the Danish operator and a group of Dutch multinationals - Friesland Campina, Heineken, Philips, DSM, Shell and Unilever - all members of the Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition (DSGC).

In the pilot, up to 20% sustainable second-generation biofuels will be burned on the ship sailing 25,000 nautical miles from Rotterdam to Shanghai and back on biofuel blends alone, a world’s first at this scale.

The biofuel used in this pilot is a so called ‘second generation’ biofuel, produced from waste sources, in this case used cooking oil (UCOME oil). Second generation biofuel means the biofuel comes from waste products. This can be used cooking oil, forest residues, wood chip waste etc. This biofuel is ISCC Certified, meaning that the whole chain is 3rd party certified. The power of biofuel is that it can to a certain extent replace / blended with conventional (fossil) fuels, without having to make large scale technical adaptations to the engines or require a complete new engine.

DSGC members and Maersk all agree that tackling harmful emissions related to shipping is urgently needed, and that cross-industry collaboration is required to develop, test and implement new solutions. The DSGC members, many of which are customers to Maersk, played a critical role. They initiated and are sponsoring the pilot. Shell, acted as the fuel supplier for the pilot, and Maersk played the role as operating partner.

“DSGC companies join in action to contribute to the UN SDGs. With this initiative we focus on Climate Action (SDG 13). We have taken the initiative to partner with AP Moller-Maersk on this important effort,” said Jan Peter Balkenende, Chair of the DSGC. “This pilot testing biofuel on a cross ocean shipping lane, marks an important step. However, many more innovations are urgently needed. These can only be successfully developed, tested and implemented in industry collaborations like this.”

Søren Toft, Chief Operating Officer AP Moller – Maersk commented: “To reach our net zero CO2 target by 2050, in the next 10 years we need big breakthroughs. Maersk cannot do this alone. That is why this collaboration with DSGC and its members is such an important step in identifying and bringing low carbon solutions to life. It laid the foundation for how cross-industry partners can work together to take steps towards a more sustainable future. We welcome others to join in our efforts, as this journey is just beginning.”

Søren Toft added “Biofuels are one of the viable solutions that can be implemented in the short and medium term. Through this pilot, we aim to learn more about using biofuels in general, and to understand the possibilities around increasing its usage in a sustainable and economical way.”