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Maritime Propulsion

November 18, 2021

Euronav Concludes B50 Biofuel Blend Trial

After a successful completion of a B30 biofuel blend test on the Suezmax Statia (2006 – 150,205 dwt), Euronav has now successfully concluded a B50 biofuel blend trial on its Suezmax Marlin Sardinia (2019 – 156,607 dwt). The biofuel, by marine fuels supplier TFG Marine (the bunkering arm of Trafigura), was tested on its longevity and durability over a period of four months. This second trial confirms the potential of biofuel and the crucial role it plays in the decarbonization of shipping.

In June 2021, the Suezmax Marlin Sardinia was bunkered with 240 MT of B50 biofuel blend from TFG Marine. Just as the B30 biofuel blend, the B50 was supplied in the port of Rotterdam, where there is a government incentive in place to allow for cost effective blending of biofuels into marine fuels (Incentive Scheme for Climate-Friendly Shipping). The B50 biofuel blend is derived from waste oil feedstock and consist of 50% Marine Gas Oil (MGO) and 50 % Very Low Sulfur Fuel Oil (VLSFO - biofuel). Consequently, it enables the reduction of carbon fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

The first analysis of the fuel was performed before bunkering and confirmed that the fuel met the parameters and that it was suitable for the vessel. A second analysis of the fuel was executed in August, while the Marlin Sardinia was sailing in laden condition from Rotterdam to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The results of the test were received after passing Cape Town and showed no differences in the parameters and quality of bunkered B50 biofuel.

This permitted the Marlin Sardinia to submit the B50 biofuel blend to a 24-hours trial in good weather between Cape Town and Singapore. About 45 MT of the biofuel was used for the main engine and auxiliary engines (generator and boilers). The trial showed no issues on any of the engines or significant differences in operations. After the trial the Suezmax switched back to using standard High Sulfur Fuel Oil (HSFO).

Certain maritime zones, such as in Northern Europe, United States and China, are ‘Sulfur Emission Control Areas’ known as SECA. This implies that upon entrance into these areas, the vessel needs to be burning a 0.1 % maximum sulfur fuel oil, where most vessels opt to use MGO. As well as when the vessel is in port, the ship switches to lower sulfur 0.1 % fuel oil as required by local port regulations. Upon arrival into the port of Singapore the Marlin Sardinia switched again to the use of B50 biofuel blend.

When the vessel departed from the port of Singapore in October 2021, the remaining B50 had been used just as any other fuel on the vessel and fully consumed.

This second trial builds upon the experiences and knowledge already gained within Euronav on the use of biofuels. Going forward the Company will continue to test and evaluate the stability and longevity of bio blended bunker fuels as a first step in achieving decarbonization goals.

Rustin Edwards, Head of Fuel Oil Procurement, said, “Ensuring that bio blends remain in a homogenous state whist in transit is a key aspect that needs to be tested in order to ensure operational stability on the vessel. This voyage and intermittent use of the MGO B50 blend allowed us to document the stability over time and further enhances our understanding of the long-term handling of such fuel mixes in the future.”