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Biofuels and additives

Shoreside experience can be applied to the use of additives on marine biofuels according to fuel treatment specialist Aderco

Replacing fossil fuels with biofuels is seen by many as an important pathway towards decarbonising the transport sector.  Prominent fuel treatment technology specialist Aderco, which has its roots in the maritime industry, has told World Bunkering that it is now set to draw on its six years of inland mining, power generation and transportation biofuels experience to support the maritime sector.

 

December 23, 2021

“Clearly, in addition to the industrial sector, the use of biofuels has already established itself in other markets, in particular the automotive industry where some 20% of vehicles in Europe run on biofuels today, increasing to 50% in Brazil alone. As such, with energy majors now turning their attention to the production of this renewable energy, we see this as a real opportunity for the maritime industry. Furthermore, of equal importance and when comparing other solutions available in the market, only minor adjustments are required to the existing equipment on board,” said Aderco CEO Olivier Baiwir.

 

Biofuel is a living fuel and comes in different grades, ranging from B10 up to B100, or 10 to 100% Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME) blend. One of the challenges that he said Aderco had observed with regard to FAME is that, depending upon the actual grade the pour point may vary. For example, a vessel operating in the Baltic Sea in the middle of winter using FAME derived from palm trees originating from Indonesia will present pour point challenges, compared to that of pine trees grown in the north. “Accordingly,” he said, “it is imperative that the correct grade of FAME is always chosen”.

 

He stressed that, being extremely sensitive to water contamination, either through water content or condensation, the storage management of biofuels is vitally important, as is the correct storage temperature in order to ensure the least amount of condensation present. As bacteria is already in biofuels, any water added will only encourage bacterial growth and affect the pH value which, in turn, can lead to oxidation issues during long storage periods. Regular checks of the pH level are necessary to ascertain that the biofuels remain stable. Should the pH level diverge, then fuel additive will invariably need to be added in order to ensure that the biofuel stays within the operable range.

Baiwir said that his company’s experience had been that, both in terms of pour point and water settlement, the use of its Aderco 2055G product has shown to increase the former by 5-10°C, dependent upon the origin of FAME and, the latter has reacted in exactly the same manner as for other fuels.

 

Commenting on the prospects for increased use of biofuels at sea Baiwir said: “The calorific efficiency of biofuels is slightly lower than that of the more traditional fuels the maritime sector has become used to. As well as from a geo-political perspective, one can also expect to pay a higher price due to the blending components and the need to be a greener industry, however, the market may well balance the price ultimately.”

 

He adds: “Having invested heavily in R&D and holding a vast number of case studies today, when combined with an efficient preventative treatment, Aderco has solutions for the optimum use of biofuels which, in turn, will perform for an extended period.”

 

Baiwir had no doubts biofuel use will increase. He concluded: “Given the challenges mentioned, I am sure a number of readers question biofuels as a viable alternative to fossil fuels. However, with Aderco having gained a wealth of experience through our inland operations, I can categorically state that biofuels are indeed a real alternative and that we are here to transfer the extremely valuable knowledge gained over the past six years to the maritime sector, such that our customers are comfortable in the use of such biofuels.”

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