Japan’s First Sea Trial Of Large Ferry With Renewable Diesel Fuel

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), Euglena (Euglena), and MOL Ferry (MOL Ferry) completed a sea trial of the MOL Ferry-owned/operated ferry Sunflower Shiretoko using renewable diesel fuel marketed by Euglena. The sea trial took place in the Port of Oarai in Ibaraki Prefecture.

The renewable diesel fuel used for the sea trial is made from biomass and can be used without changing the specifications of conventional diesel-powered marine engines. It complies with SOx regulations (*1) because, unlike the heavy fuel oil in general use today, it contains no sulfur, a major component of air pollution from internal combustion engines.

In addition, this biofuel emits CO2 at the combustion stage, but the biomass feedstock absorbs CO2 by photosynthesis in the growth process, so it is expected to achieve a carbon-neutral state—essentially net zero CO2 emissions when it is used.

Japan's first large ferry sea trial on renewable diesel
Image Credits: mol.co.jp

A special guest at a ceremony for the sea trial was Oarai Town Mayor Yutaka Kunii, who had encouraging words for the sea trial team: “I’m happy that such an advanced project is being conducted in our town. We would like to firmly set our vision for the future and move ahead together.”

The MOL Group set a target of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in “MOL Group Environmental Vision 2.1”, which laid out the group’s approach to global environmental issues. Among its initiatives, the group supports for Euglena’s GREEN OIL JAPAN (*2) declaration, which aims to promote Japan’s nationwide shift toward biofuel, and this sea trial was a key element of that.

MOL and Euglena are working to reduce the maritime industry’s environmental impact and realize a sustainable global society while moving ahead with environment-friendly activities.

*1 SOx regulations: Regulations on the sulfur content of bunker oil used in the ocean shipping industry. Starting in 2020, stricter regulation reduced the maximum allowable sulfur content from 3.5% to 0.5%.

*2 With the “GREEN OIL JAPAN” declaration, Euglena invites the cooperating companies and organizations (transportation, food and beverage, local governments, etc.) that use biofuels, supply feedstocks, and promote the wider use of biofuels together. 

Reference: mol.co.jp

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