Maritime biofuel pilot demonstrates significant effect

The biofuel pilot project that was initiated by the Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition (DSGC) has demonstrated significant effect. Shell has launched new biofuel pilot projects, and Maersk has launched a commercial product in the market.

Convinced of the urgency to take action against climate change, a group of Dutch multinationals – FrieslandCampina, Heineken, Philips, DSM, Shell, and Unilever, all members of the Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition (DSGC) – joined forces with A.P. Møller-Maersk in March of 2019 to launch a biofuel pilot project. The container ship Mette Maersk sailed from the port of Rotterdam to Shanghai on a fuel mixture containing 20% used cooking oil. The pilot project encountered no technical problems, allowing Shell to start up several follow-up projects, in which the energy multinational teams up with Maersk and several other large corporations, including MSC and Van Oord. The research involved aims to achieve a fuel blend with a higher percentage of biofuel – up to as much as 50%.

Commercial product
During the pilot project with the Mette Maersk, a business model was developed that allocates the yield and costs of the use of biofuel to individual containers. An initial market exploration shows that customers of Maersk are willing to pay for goods by individual container if these containers are transported in a greener, more sustainable manner. For this reason, Maersk has launched the commercial product ‘ECO Delivery’ in the market. The fashion retail group H&M has already agreed to procure this product. 

Great interest
The results of the pilot project have drawn great interest from the industry itself and other companies that sell their goods around the world, as well as from shipping companies. With this pilot project, DSGC has shown that collaboration within the chain can bring the development towards cleaner container shipping within reach.
The Mette Maersk used two mixtures, one consisting of 20% biofuel and one with 7% biofuel. In total, this led to an emissions reduction of 1500 tonnes of CO2 and 20 tonnes of sulphur. This is equal to the annual CO2 emissions of over 200 households or 12 million car kilometres (300 times around the world). Shell supplied the new fuel, having conducted the necessary research in their laboratory.

For more information and results of the pilot please click here.