Story | 03/22/2017 08:59:00

Cleaner Marine Shipping with UPM BioVerno

With the marine industry striving to drive down emissions, recent tests promise a bright future in marine use for UPM BioVerno. UPM’s wood-based biofuel is also a good match with marine diesel engines.

Recent tests on a diesel-powered dredger in the Netherlands yielded promising results for UPM BioVerno. The tests were performed by dredging and marine experts Boskalis and GoodFuels Marine, the leading provider of sustainable marine biofuels. “This was the first time that UPM BioVerno was tested in a marine vessel. So far, it has been used in road traffic, where it performed excellently in all diesel engines,” says Sari Mannonen, Head of UPM Biofuels.

UPM BioVerno is produced at UPM Lappeenranta Biorefinery.

Shrinking carbon footprint

GoodFuels, Boskalis and marine engine manufacturer Wärtsilä have established a consortium running a two-year pilot programme to accelerate the rollout of sustainable biofuels in the marine industry.

UPM BioVerno is the first wood based biofuel to be tested in an operating marine vessel. “We are extremely proud to bring in UPM as a new partner in our ground-breaking test programme. This co-operation will help to further accelerate the supply of sustainable biofuel to the global maritime industry,” says Dirk Kronemeijer, CEO of GoodFuels.

Dirk Kronemeijer, CEO of GoodFuels and Maiju Helin, Senior Manager, UPM Biofuels

The marine industry is currently looking for cost-efficient ways to reduce shipping emissions in compliance with new international regulations. Sulphur emissions can for instance be reduced by equipping the vessels with sulphur scrubbers, but this is a costly investment. “UPM BioVerno is a sustainable, competitive fuel that can be used in marine engines without any additional investments,” notes Mannonen.

New market segment for UPM BioVerno

Sustainable biofuels enable shipping companies to reduce the CO2 emissions of their vessels by up to 80–90%. Biofuels also eliminate sulphur oxide emissions, and reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by approximately 10% and particulate matter emissions by 50%.

Sari Mannonen

Current estimates predict that biofuels could account for 5–10% of all marine fuels by 2030. “The successful test is an important step for us, as it opens up a new customer segment for UPM BioVerno in the future,” says Mannonen.

The Netherlands leads the way

The Netherlands is a frontrunner in the reduction of CO2 emissions. The Dutch environmental organization Natuur & Milieu is encouraged by the test results achieved by GoodFuels and Boskalis. “This project is a true example for both the shipping and the biofuels industry of the successful utilization of waste- and residue-based biofuels,” comments Maarten van Biezen, Mobility Policy Director at Natuur & Milieu.

The test was performed in the first half of 2016 during dredging operations for the Marker Wadden Eco-Islands landscaping project.

The test resulted in a CO2 saving of 600 Mt for the duration of the project. Marker Wadden is a large-scale project in the Markermeer in Central Netherlands. Islands and wetlands are being constructed to restore the area’s delicate ecosystem. The wetlands will provide important nesting areas for birds, and the underwater landscaping will create new spawning grounds for fish.

The new nature reserve helps protect endangered animal and plant species. There are also plans to develop the Marker Wadden area as an important destination for nature tourism.

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Main image: UPM BioVerno was tested in a marine vessel during dredging operations for the Marker Wadden Eco-Islands landscaping project in the Netherlands.


Matti Remes