British ferry company Red Funnel has begun trials of a hydrotreated vegetable oil-based renewable diesel, produced by Green Biofuels, on passenger ships between Southampton and the Isle of Wight.

The Green D+ branded biofuel was blended with varying amounts of low-sulphur marine gasoil and used to power the ships’ main engines and onboard generators, reported Passenger Ship Technology on 3 May.

“The trial of biofuels is one of a number of new initiatives Red Funnel is taking to significantly reduce its environmental footprint,” said Red Funnel fleet and technical director mark Slawson.

The fuel was produced by Green Biofuels – headquartered in Weybridge, UK – by mixing a patented performance additive into HVO-based renewable diesel.

The HVO was manufactured by Finnish oil refining firm Neste from waste and residue materials, such as used cooking oil and waste fats from the food processing industry, in addition to plant-based oils including palm and rapeseed oil, wrote Passenger Ship Technology.

The HVO production process allowed waste oils to be recycled back into fuel instead of possibly disposing them through possibly inefficient and dangerous processes and risking their re-entry into the food supply chain.

“Unlike other alternative energy sources, switching to biofuel incurs no major infrastructure changes and we are confident that the trial will deliver a reduction in sulphur and nitrogen oxides (Sox and NOx),” added Slawson.