First Ship-to-Ship Biofuel Supply Trial Launched in Japan

A bunkering ship will supply a tugboat with biofuel in an industry-first 6 photos
Photo: NYK Line
The Tahara Maru tugboat will conduct biofuel trialsThe Tahara Maru tugboat will conduct biofuel trialsThe Tahara Maru tugboat will conduct biofuel trialsNYK Lines conducted several biofuel trials for cargo vesselsNYK Lines conducted several biofuel trials for cargo vessels
Various companies in the global maritime industry are testing different alternatives to fossil fuels for large carrier ships. NYK Line (Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha) is one of the biggest names in Japan that actively promotes the use of green fuels. Its most recent milestone represents the first ship-to-ship biofuel supply trial in the country.
Founded in 1885, NYK Line is a big name not just in Japan but one of the largest shipping companies in the world. The company is now using the experience it has accumulated over more than a century to develop innovative, sustainable solutions for emission-free shipping. It was one of the first to kick off biofuel trials several years ago.

One of its recent tests, conducted in partnership with Seanergy Maritime, showed that a bulker running on biofuel was able to complete its voyage with 10% fewer CO2 emissions than if it had used conventional fuel.

Together with Sanyo Kaiji, NYK Line has just launched another biodiesel trial project. This time, a tugboat operated by Sanyo Kaiji will be the star of the show. But what’s even more interesting about this project is that a bunkering ship will be used to supply the biofuel to the tugboat. This ship-to-ship biofuel supply will be an industry-first in Japan.

LNG (liquefied natural gas), hydrogen, ammonia, and biofuel are all considered effective alternatives to standard fuel used in the maritime industry. Similar to SAF (sustainable aviation fuel), biofuel is obtained from renewable organic resources, known as biomass.

The particular one that will be used in these trials is provided by Toyotsu Energy Corporation, which recycles cooking oil from the Toyota Group and Toyota Tsusho Group companies. This way, the project supports not only vessel operations with fewer CO2 emissions but also a circular economy that uses a local supply chain.

The trial was kicked off this week with support from the Nagoya Port Authority and will be followed by two more tests by the end of July.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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