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Biofuels: Serious sustainability or expensive energy?

In this podcast, Sammy Six and Catherine Caulfield from Argus Media explore a misunderstood energy source and argue that it has a solid contribution to make to the sustainability discussion



BIOFUELS do not get the media coverage enjoyed by ammonia or hydrogen, but expertise is growing.

Bunker suppliers and shipowners are working with fuels specialists to assess the potential as the shipping industry moves towards its 2030 targets.

The term biofuels is broad. It covers a range of energy sources such as bioethanol and biodiesel.

Biodiesel itself is used interchangeably with FAME (fatty acid methyl ester), a generic chemical term for a bio-based component from renewable sources like soya oil, used cooking oils, and animal fats/tallow.

What makes this energy source worth exploring is the fact that biofuels can be fully renewable and almost 100% CO2 neutral. Transportation, storage and handling are simple as biofuels can be dropped into conventional fuels, and they must therefore be regarded as an attractive contribution to the sustainability discussion.

Are biofuels significant for shipping’s sustainability or merely a minor element for certain vessels operating in restricted waterways?

Can claims about zero harm be justified? What’s the difference between a B20 blend and a B30 blend, and should we care?

In this podcast, two marine fuels experts from Argus Media, which provides commodity and energy price benchmarks, argue there’s a good case is to be made for following the progress of biofuels as a global option.

Sammy Six and Catherine Caulfield — respectively deputy editor, Marine Fuels, and business development manager, Marine Fuels, Bitumen, and Base Oils — explore industry demand, biofuels availability and likely cost, regional variation of blends, and Argus’ own market-assessed pricing.

As Ms Caulfield observes, biofuels are currently available for bunkering while other alternative fuels such as methanol are still under development.

Container and cruiseship owners are assessing the benefits because their customers are driving demand for lower-carbon solutions and are willing to pay the higher costs associated with greener solutions.

That’s biofuels: sustainable, available, and compliant with International Maritime Organization and customer requirements.

Listen to this podcast here…

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