India’s first marine biofuel trials successfully concluded

Ambuja Vaibhava (Photo:

The Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass) has successfully undertaken sea trials for two vessels operating on a new type of biodiesel fuel.

The biodiesel blend used for the trials was developed in compliance with Marpol Annex VI (Reg.14) sulphur content requirements and met SOLAS (Ch. II-2/Reg.4.2.1) in terms of flash point requirements.

The biodiesel was trialled on the cement carriers Ambuja Mukund and Ambuja Vaibhava (pictured), both owned by Lafarge Holcim subsidiary Ambuja Cements. The emission levels for CO2 and NOx at both ballast and loaded voyages were monitored during the trial period.

IRClass said that the results of the trials were found to be satisfactory, with the biodiesel’s NOx emission levels being lower than those of low-sulphur, high-speed diesel (LSHSD).

Although the reduction in CO2 emissions was found to be around seven per cent, the total life cycle reduction of CO2 by life cycle analysis (LCA) was measured to be around 21 per cent as the biodiesel from soya extract had a reduction of life cycle GHG emissions by as much as 70 per cent.

Based on the above trial results, Indian flag administration authorities have approved additional biofuel trials for Ambuja Cement’s remaining fleet of vessels, which are mainly deployed on India’s coastal routes.

IRClass said that these were the first marine biofuel trials to be carried out in India.

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