Biofuels are gaining prominence as a viable alternative to traditional carbon-based marine fuels, heralding the promise of reduced greenhouse gas emissions in the shipping industry. As the maritime sector pivots towards sustainable practices, VPS (Veritas Petroleum Services) has been at the forefront, conducting extensive research to address potential challenges associated with marine biofuels. VPS’s investigations span various test parameters, unveiling methods to measure and control the intricate characteristics of these biofuels. A pivotal focus of their research is the energy content in marine biofuels, a key determinant that holds the key to unlocking their benefits onboard vessels.
In a recently published white paper, VPS explores the crucial aspect of energy content, shedding light on its significance in fuel combustion. Energy content, representing the heat transferred during the combustion process, directly influences power generation, combustion efficiency, fuel economy, and greenhouse gas emissions. Ship Operators gearing up for the impending European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) must consider this parameter, making informed decisions pivotal in navigating the evolving landscape of sustainable shipping.
Traditionally, the calculation of energy content in conventional marine fuels aligns with the International Marine Fuel Standard ISO 8217:2017. However, VPS’s meticulous research has uncovered a critical limitation in this methodology when applied to biofuel blends. The correlation between calculated and measured energy content diminishes beyond a FAME (Fatty Acid Methyl Ester) content of 10%, rendering the ISO 8217 calculation method unreliable for these blends. The increased oxygen content in FAME, compared to conventional fuels, contributes to this inaccuracy. Importantly, no existing calculation method accurately addresses the variable oxygen content in FAME, posing a challenge for the precise determination of energy content in biofuels.
Measuring energy content in marine fuels extends beyond a mere technical exercise—it is a cornerstone for ship operators in navigating a complex landscape. The accuracy of this measurement holds the key to assessing fuel efficiency, managing operational costs, evaluating environmental impact, ensuring compliance, and maintaining engine performance and safety. VPS’s comprehensive paper not only outlines the methods employed to determine energy content in marine fuels but also scrutinizes the comparative effectiveness of these methods. The research extends to a comprehensive analysis of various fuel types, encompassing not only biofuels but also conventional heavy fuel oil (HFO), very low sulfur fuel oil (VLSFO), and marine gas oil (MGO).
The white paper concludes with significant insights into the energy content of marine biofuels, underlining the challenges and implications for the shipping industry. As the maritime sector charts its course towards a more sustainable future, understanding and addressing the nuances of energy content in biofuels becomes imperative. VPS’s white paper, titled “The Importance of Testing for Accurate Energy Content of Biofuels,” stands as a beacon for industry stakeholders seeking a deeper understanding of this critical aspect.
If you would like to receive the full VPS White Paper, “The Importance of Testing for Accurate Energy Content of Biofuels” please click here: Request White Paper at VPS webiste.