In 2015, Boskalis, along with consortium partners GoodFuels Marine of the Netherlands and Finnish engine manufacturer Wärtsilä, launched a two-year biofuel pilot program aimed at accelerating the scalable development of sustainable, reliable and affordable drop-in biofuels for the maritime sector, which could result in significant emissions reductions.
With a fleet of around 1,000 units Boskalis is constantly on the lookout for ways to reduce emissions and innovate in terms of sustainability. Boskalis operates globally and our ships do not have fixed, regular ports of call. They are often deployed for relatively long periods to remote locations with limited infrastructure.
“We are strongly committed to developing business models based around sustainability. If our business objectives go hand-in-hand with sustainability and things such as technical feasibility and scalability are also in order, there is a huge potential for broad acceptance of this biofuel initiative. It could result in really significant reductions in emissions.”
Theo Baartmans, Boskalis Board of Management
Consortium partners are looking at blending diesel with biofuels up to a ratio of 30% or even 70%. There are both operational and financial considerations that make drop-in biofuels attractive. From a financial point of view, the advantage is that unlike LNG, drop-in biofuels require no expensive modifications to the ships. A drop-in biofuel gives Boskalis the flexibility to bunker this fuel when it is available.
Testing of the various new biofuels at the Wärtsilä laboratory in Finland was completed in late 2015. In 2016, endurance testing will start on one Boskalis vessel in order to validate the long-term performance and possible impact on the diesel engine, lubricant and fuel feed system, after which the fuel will undergo further testing on several Boskalis ships.