Anglo successfully trials ship powered with biofuel
Vessel heading to SA from Singapore used a fuel blend that was produced by converting waste cooking oil
Anglo American has successfully trialled the use of sustainable biofuel to power a ship travelling to SA from Singapore, marking a milestone in the diversified miner’s efforts to decarbonise its supply chain.
Anglo announced on Tuesday that it successfully powered the Capesize vessel — a large bulk carrier — with a biodiesel blend that was produced by converting waste cooking oil from Singapore’s food and beverage industry, thereby reducing carbon dioxide emissions compared with using 100% conventional marine fuel.
As the pressure grows for governments and businesses to curb their carbon emissions in the face of climate change, Anglo has committed to decarbonise its operations to become carbon-neutral across all its operations by 2040. At its mines, Anglo is developing hydrogen fuel-cell technology to power its trucks, and it has committed to adopt and contract next-generation freight capacity to transport its commodities by sea.
Completely decarbonising ocean freight poses a particular challenge to global industry because the use of battery power isn’t feasible. But the use of alternative fuels such as biofuel and gas will go some way in reducing emissions.
The trial, conducted on-board the Frontier Jacaranda, a carrier owned by Japanese shipping company NYK Line, was instrumental in verifying the stability of the biofuel in storage and its performance as a fuel, Anglo said in a statement. Toyota Tsusho Petroleum supplied the biodiesel blend, consisting of 7% biofuel and 93% regular fuel. This combination reduces carbon dioxide emissions by about 5%, is compliant with the International Organisation for Standardisation’s requirement for marine fuels and requires no substantial engine modifications.
Peter Whitcutt, CEO of Anglo American’s marketing business, said low-emission ocean freight is crucial in driving the long-term sustainability of the maritime industry.
“These efforts also reinforce our commitment as an organisation to reduce emissions across the entire value chain, as we work towards carbon neutrality across our operations by 2040,” he said.
Data gathered from the voyage provides new insights into wider efforts to introduce biofuel to the maritime sector, and paves the way to improving its cost-effectiveness and using higher-percentage blends in future trials, Anglo said. The conversion of waste cooking oil into fuel for transportation aligns with the principles of the circular economy, by providing a fresh and environmentally beneficial use for products what would otherwise be disposed of.
Whitcutt said the company was now partnering with like-minded industry players to improve its understanding of factors likely to affect the future scalability of this solution.
Anglo is exploring a number of other ways to reduce the carbon intensity of its ocean freight operations, including the use of ammonia as an alternative marine fuel. It is also adding vessels, slightly larger than Capesize, into its chartered fleet which are fuelled by liquefied natural gas and so reduce CO² emissions by about 35%.
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