Global resources company BHP, German shipping company Oldendorff Carriers, and Dutch advanced biofuels pioneer GoodFuels, with the support of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), conducted the first marine biofuel trial involving an ocean-going vessel bunkered in Singapore on April 4, 2021. The key objectives of the biofuel bunkering trial include understanding the behaviour of the fuel (such as emissions), assessing engine and vessel operational performance during the trial as well as exploring the technical and commercial merits and challenges of biofuels as a marine fuel. The 2020-built 81,290 deadweight tonne (DWT) dry bulk carrier Kira Oldendorff was bunkered with “drop-in” advanced biofuel blended with conventional fossil fuels. The advanced biofuel, supplied by GoodFuels, reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 80-90 percent on a “well-to-exhaust” compared with conventional heavy fuel oil (HFO) and very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) and uses sustainable waste and residue streams as feedstock.
Expansion of biofuel into Singapore represents a key step for the emerging alternative. Singapore is the world’s largest bunker market with the MPA reporting sales of more than 4.5 million metric tons per month at the beginning of 2021 used to fuel the more than 3,500 vessels calling in Singapore to bunker. Last year over 49 million metric tons of fuel were sold nearing the port’s record of over 50.6 million metric tons in 2017. If the pace of bunker sales in the first two months of 2021 continues for the year, Singapore could exceed its previous record by nearly 10 percent.