ITALIAN-based shipping company d’Amico Group has brought together a number of companies to drive a decarbonisation project around biofuel.

TRAFIGURA, ABS, RINA, Lloyd’s Register’s Fuel Oil Bunker Analysis Advisory Service, the Liberian Registry and MAN Energy Solutions have joined the collaboration, which will test biofuel blends derived from advanced second-generation feedstock onboard one of d’Amico Group’s  LR1 product tankers already in EEDI Phase 2.

d’Amico Group’s core business is focused on the management and operation of dry cargo and product tankers vessels and it also provides international shipping services.

The joint venture will calculate possible CO2 emissions reduction through a lifecycle strategy, using the so called well-to-wheel analysis, from raw material acquisition to its burning while the ship is underway, to compare the performance of biofuels to traditional fossil fuels.

The project will assess the stability and degradation of the biofuel in relation to storage time and NOx emissions to confirm that the use of biofuel B30 will not affect the Tier II certification of the engines, and to measure the effects and improvements on EEXI and CII indexes adopted as short-term measures by the International Maritime Organization.

The tests will be undertaken on d’Amico’s vessels, Cielo Bianco and Cielo di Rotterdam and the low carbon alternative fuel of second generation (EU renewable energy directive (Red I/II) compliant and ISSC certified) will be supplied by leading bunkering supply company TFG Marine in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp region.

The combined strategic vision and technical capabilities of charterers, original engine manufacturers, shipowners, fuel suppliers and regulatory bodies will allow to better exploit, study and scout all options for the decarbonisation of shipping.

The pre-trial phase of the project started in March 2021 when details of the nature and composition of the biofuel blends were made available and the establishment of the protocols relating to fuel testing, inspections, NOx measurement and the sea trials. It was also necessary to prepare the risk assessment, the MOC, to adapt the swap procedures and to develop a consistent crew training program.

The second phase, the trials on board the vessels, is scheduled for mid-June 2021, in accordance with the planned trade routes of the vessels. This phase will start as soon as the bunkering is completed, and all protocols have been defined and approved by the OEM and the class societies involved.

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The trial phase will monitor the behaviour of the main engine, the diesel generators and the boilers in burning the biofuel blend, to evaluate operation, performance, and fuel storage capability. NOx will also be measured.

In the post-trial phase, the reported emissions will be processed and analysed with particular focus on CO2 and NOx and their effects on the EEXI and CII, according to the existing draft guidelines.

The project ending is planned for mid-July 2021.

Cesare D’Api, deputy technical director at d’Amico Group said, “Shipping needs a GHG lifecycle approach to decarbonise itself.

“In line with our vision, we decided to do such step in the common direction to reduce the carbon footprint by assessing the biofuels as potential low carbon fuel of the future and its effect on the short-term measures adopted by the IMO.

“This project by confirming the technical/safety feasibility in burning the biofuel blends as drop in solution, will demonstrate that we have a practical and viable option for the decarbonisation which can be handled easily by the crew with no impact on the NOx emissions and without any modification onboard.”

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