Korean Effort to Commercialize Bio Heavy Oil as Marine Fuel

effort to develop bio heavy oil as a marine fuel
HMM container ship (file photo)

Published Aug 24, 2020 7:42 PM by The Maritime Executive

A new cooperation of South Korean companies is being formed to develop bio heavy fuel as an alternative for the shipping industry to meet its goal for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. 

The efforts are being led by the Korean shipping company HMM (formerly Hyundai Merchant Marine) and includes the participation of the Korea Bio Energy Association, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering, and the Korean Register of Shipping to develop and promote the environmentally friendly fuel alternative. Made from materials such as animal and plant oils, along with the production resides from the more common bio diesel fuel, the partners believe that they can develop an environmentally friendly alternative to the currently used heavy oil.

The partners will work together on R&D efforts to further establish standards for bio heavy oil and to commercialize the fuel through the development of a supply system. In making the announcement, HMM said it had already been working on the R&D efforts and was testing bio heavy fuel as an alternative on a large container ship. The new partnership will seek to expand the testing efforts both onshore and at sea to verify the fuel alternative and its performance.

If proven successful, the partners believe bio heavy fuel could become an alternative to the current fuels used in the shipping industry.

In the spring, Stena Bulk announced that it had completed a successful sea trial voyage using sustainable marine bio fuel oil (BFO) derived from forest residues and waste oil products during a 10-day trial voyage of the 50,000 DWT MR tanker Stena Immortal. The fuel, produced by a company called GoodFuels and loaded in Rotterdam, they reported proved to be a technically compliant alternative to the fossil fuel typically used for oceangoing tankers.

Based on the successful trial, Stena Bulk announced that it is introducing a new low-carbon shipping option for customers. The biofuel will be used within the Stena fleet, but because the company cannot confirm fuel availability on a specific route, customers will instead have the option of buying carbon offset credits by contributing to the overall cost of using biofuel aboard the company’s tankers.