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GCMD-led consortium commits $18mn for green marine fuels

Industry partners for the pilot project include Anglo American, Chevron, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd and ONE.

GCMD-led consortium commits $18mn for green marine fuels
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(Representational picture. Photo Credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore)

The Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD), along with 18 industry partners, is launching a drop-in biofuels pilot project with a combined contribution of $18 million in cash and in-kind to establish a framework for ensuring supply chain integrity of current and future green marine fuels, bringing genuine benefits to end-users and the climate.

Industry partners for the pilot project include Anglo American, Chevron Corporation, CMA CGM S.A., Hapag-Lloyd AG and Ocean Network Express Pte. Ltd.

"GCMD is leading this route-based pilot to help align stakeholders in the supply chain for the adoption of biofuels," says Professor Lynn Loo, CEO, GCMD. "By facilitating and creating an optimised drop-in green fuels supply chain, this pilot will help to shape national and international standards of biofuels bunkering and lower the barrier for their wider adoption to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from a lifecycle perspective. In curating and executing this first-of-its-kind drop-in biofuels pilot, GCMD is positioned to address stakeholder pain points in the complexities of the supply chain of green marine fuels in a meaningful way."

Biofuels can be a near-term measure to reduce GHG emissions as they are available today, and they can be deployed in the same way as marine fuels with minimal changes to the existing distribution infrastructure, shipboard technologies, and operational norms of ships, says a statement from GCMD.

"However, there is no industry-wide assurance framework that addresses concerns on the quantity, quality and GHG emissions abatement of biofuels nor one that safeguards their premium and value. To address this gap, the GCMD-led pilot aims to establish an assurance framework that ensures supply chain transparency of drop-in biofuels whose applicability can be extended to future drop-in fuels such as bio-LNG, biomethanol and green ammonia when they become available in meaningful quantities.


The vessels in the pilot are all equipped with MAN Energy Solutions's two-stroke engines, the statement said. "This is a very important initiative by GCMD, and we are honoured to contribute," says Bjarne Foldager, Senior Vice President and head of Two Stroke Business, MAN Energy Solutions. "We believe several solutions are required to decarbonise shipping; however all solutions need to be verified and their scalability tested. This is best done in partnerships aligning the various actors in projects like this where we can share knowledge and build transition strategies together."

Ship owners, charterers and operators participating in the pilot project together represent approximately 2,300 vessels across the container, tanker and bulker segments, and are responsible for transporting 8.4 million TEUs or 80.6 million DWT globally, the statement added.

"With 12 vessels bunkering at three ports across three continents, the learnings from these route-based pilots will support the green corridors framework that was put forth by the Clydebank Declaration at COP26 in October 2021 of which 24 states are signatories including Singapore, the Netherlands and the U.S. where bunkering ports for this pilot project reside."

Designed through the lens of the shipowner, piloting will start with fuel blends involving existing biofuels such as hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) and fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) blended with either very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO), high-sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) or marine gas oil (MGO) in blends up to 30 percent biofuels (B30).

Using BunkerTrace's digital and synthetic DNA tracing products to track marine fuels from production to vessel propulsion, the pilot will validate the authenticity of sustainable biofuels through molecular verification tests conducted on fuel samples that are collected at numerous identified points along the supply chain, the release said.

In an effort to further accelerate biofuels adoption as a near-term measure to reduce GHG emissions, GCMD will be leveraging the project to be the first in trialling and assessing the use of crude algae oil (CAO) as a marine fuel. CAO is a third-generation biofuel that promises substantially reduced carbon footprint but unlike HVO and FAME, its utility has not been tested nor its supply chain established.

The pilot will commence on August 1, 2022, and is expected to take 12 to 18 months to complete, the release added.

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