Global dredging and marine company Royal Boskalis Westminster, along with GoodFuels Marine has tested a new sustainable wood-based drop-in biofuel, called UPM BioVerno, on a marine vessel.

Provided by Finland-based forest industry business UPM Biofuels, the recently tested fuel is the first biofuel derived from wood residue used in a marine fleet.

The tests were performed on a Boskalis vessel, EDAX, when it was working on the first phase of the Marker Wadden nature restoration project, in the middle of the Markermeer lake, Netherlands.

"As the Netherlands is a key market in Europe driving decarbonisation measures forward, it is very significant for UPM Biofuels."

During the tests, the vessel helped in saving 600t of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The test was conducted under a two-year pilot mission that aims to speed up the development of sustainable, scalable and affordable marine biofuels.

A consortium, which includes GoodFuels Marine, Boskalis, and Wärtsilä, is involved in the mission.

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By GlobalData

UPM Biofuels head Sari Mannonen said: “Our renewable UPM BioVerno diesel is a great product also for marine use, it is a sustainable and competitive fuel with several advantages.

“Its raw material is wood-based residue, and it reduces both greenhouse gas and exhaust emissions significantly.

“As the Netherlands is a key market in Europe driving decarbonisation measures forward, it is very significant for UPM Biofuels to be part of this initiative.”

Before undertaking the trial, the UPM BioVerno has been ground tested at a Wärtsilä lab located in Vaasa, Finland.

UPM Biofuels noted that sustainable marine biofuels enable ship operators to reduce a vessel's CO2 emissions by 80-90%.

The fuels also eliminates sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions as well as reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 10% and reducing particulate matter (PM) expelled in ships' exhaust plumes by 50%.

It is forecasted that marine biofuels could make up 5% to 10% of the marine fuel mix by 2030.

Image: Dutch Marker Wadden Eco-Islands in the middle of the Markermeer lake. Photo: courtesy of Straystone / Boskalis.