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BP, Rio Tinto in Year-long Marine Biofuel Trial

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

May 23, 2022

Credit: BP

Credit: BP

Mining giant Rio Tinto has entered an agreement with the oil major BP to start a one-year biofuel trial to reduce carbon emissions from Rio Tinto’s marine fleet. 

Under the trial, BP is supplying Rio Tinto with marine biofuel for approximately 12 months. The fuel will be trialed on Rio Tinto’s RTM Tasman bulk carrier on a mix of Transatlantic and Atlantic-Pacific routes, in what has been described as "one of the longest-duration marine biofuel trials to date." 

"Sustainable biofuels are important to help decarbonize the shipping industry in the near- and mid-term as we transition towards longer-term net-zero solutions. We’re proud to be working with Rio Tinto to support their work to decarbonize. These trials are part of our ongoing efforts to help accelerate the shipping industry’s energy transition," Sven Boss-Walker, BP's senior vice president refining & products trading

 Rio Tinto Head of Commercial Operations, Laure Baratgin said that a longer-duration trial will provide important information on the potential role and wide-scale use of biofuels.

“Our ambition is to reach net-zero emissions from shipping of our products to customers by 2050 and to introduce net-zero carbon vessels into our portfolio by 2030. We know that we won’t meet these ambitions alone and along the way will need to work with capable and experienced companies such as BP.” 

According to BP, the extended trial agreement follows a successful journey on the RTM Tasman after it refueled with biofuel in Rotterdam in March 2022 for the first time and then picked up its first load of the trial at the Iron Ore Company of Canada’s Sept-Îles port in Quebec in April. All biofuel refueling during the trial will be at Rotterdam.

Recycled Cooking Oil

 The trial is using a BP-manufactured B30 biofuel blend composed of 30% fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) blended with very low sulfur fuel oil (VLSFO). This B30 biofuel blend can reduce lifecycle carbon dioxide emissions by up to 26% compared to standard marine fuel oil, BP said.

FAME is a renewable alternative fuel (biodiesel) largely produced from recycled cooking oils and renewable oil sources. It has physical properties similar to conventional diesel, and is a ‘drop in fuel’, requiring no modifications to the engine or vessel. The origination and production of the feedstocks used to produce the FAME is certified for its sustainability to internationally recognized standards, BP said.

The trial will analyze a series of engine and fuel performance factors, including engine efficiency and fuel consumption, corrosion and degradation, microbial growth, temperature impact, fuel switching impacts, and fuel stability.

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