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Multinational energy company ExxonMobil is moving beyond the trial stage for drop-in biofuels to commercialisation of the product at ports in northern Europe, Seatrade Maritime News reported.

In an interview with Seatrade Maritime News, ExxonMobil’s market development advisor (Aviation & Marine Fuels) Eddie Fish said that the company was seeing rising interest in biofuels as a transition fuel along with liquefied natural gas (LNG), which was established as an alternative fuel for a small portion of the global shipping fleet.

Drop-in biofuels did not require expensive modifications to vessels and delivered immediate greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions, Fish was quoted as saying in the 13 October report.

As a drop-in fuel component added to Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil (VLSFO) the higher the percentage of biofuels the higher the savings were in terms of GHG emissions, Seatrade Maritime News wrote.

Biofuels were currently blended at the 20%-30% level, but ExxonMobil had trialled up to a 49% biofuel blend (B49) with 51% VLSFO, the report said.

In the ARA (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp) region ExxonMobil said it was moving from the trial stage to full commercialisation of drop-in biofuels.

“We've been very active in the B30 space out of Antwerp and Rotterdam area, in France we've already offered a B25,” Fish said.

The company had also been asked to help some UK customers with a trial for a B20 fuel, he said.

In addition, ExxonMobil was working towards the commercialisation of marine in Italy and had conducted B25 trials in Singapore.

In Singapore, the use of mass flow meters (MFMs) – which the country mandates for conventional bunker deliveries – was being studied to ensure they were calibrated for biofuels.

“We're comfortable, or certainly aware of and ensuring, that the mass flow meters that we are looking to utilise and or continue to install will work well with these biofuels,” Fish added.