Biodiesel trials for two vessels in India have been successful while a biofuel bunkering trial in Singapore delivered a positive result.

The sea trials of two vessels in India were undertaken by the Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass).

Both vessels – Ambuja Mukund and Ambuja Vaibhav - are owned by Ambuja Cements, which is part of the global conglomerate Lafarge Hoclim.

Emission levels for CO2 and NOx at both ballast and loaded voyages were monitored during the trials, IRClass said in an April statement.

In terms of sulphur content requirements, the trial results were satisfactory with no increase of NOx compared to Low Sulphur Heavy Stack Diesel (LSHSD).

The reduction in CO₂ was around 7% but the total life cycle reduction of CO₂ by Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) was around 21% as the biodiesel from soya had a 70% reduction in life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Biofuel trials for the remaining fleet of Ambuja Cement’s vessels, which are largely deployed on Indian coastal routes, have now been approved.

“Sustainable biofuels have great potential to reduce emission levels substantially and once successfully trialled – will pave a cleaner new future for shipping in India,” IRClass joint managing director Vijay Arora said.

The Indian government’s National Policy on Biofuels, was approved in 2018, with policy targets to blend 20% of biofuels into traditional fuels by 2030.

Meanwhile, in Singapore, global resources company BHP, German shipping company Oldendorff Carriers, and advanced biofuels company GoodFuels conducted the first marine biofuel trial involving an ocean-going vessel bunkered in the country on 4 April.

Undertaken with the support of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), the trial involved the refuelling of the bulk carrier Kira Oldendorff with ‘drop-in’ advanced biofuel blended with conventional fossil fuels.

BHP said the key objectives of the biofuel bunkering trial included understanding the behaviour of the fuel (such as emissions), assessing engine and vessel operational performance during the trial, as well as exploring the technical and commercial merits and challenges of biofuels as a marine fuel.

The trial would enable the company to develop an informed strategy on the structural supply and use of biofuels on its key shipping routes, BHP said.

The advanced biofuel, supplied by GoodFuels uses sustainable waste and residue streams as feedstock.

“This trial marks the start of a process for GoodFuels to facilitate more structural supply of sustainable marine biofuels in Singapore, in a commercial, operational and technically feasible manner,” GoodFuels chief commercial officer Isabel Welten said.