Holland America Line (HAL) has completed the cruise industry’s first multi-week testing of biofuels on board ‘Volendam’ in Rotterdam.
The 20-day trials were conducted in partnership with GoodFuels, a producer and supplier of sustainable biofuels for the transport industry, and Wärtsilä and were completed on 7th September.
During the first five days of the test, the ship used a mix of 30% biofuel and 70% marine gas oil (MGO) in one of its main auxiliary engines. For the final 15 days of testing, the ship used 100% biofuel.
According to GoodFuels, there was a 78% decrease in lifecycle CO2 emissions during the final 15 days of trials, compared to marine gas oil emissions.
“We were excited to have this opportunity to test a next-generation fuel resource on a Holland America Line ship, and we are very encouraged by the results,” said Gus Antorcha, HAL President.
“As part of our commitment to sustainability, we have always looked for cutting-edge solutions to environmental challenges that will help us meet Carnival Corporation’s sustainability goals over the coming decades.”
The Dutch-flagged ‘Volendam’ was selected for the test as it was berthed at Rotterdam, one of the ports where GoodFuels operates the infrastructure necessary to provide biofuel waterside fuelling services.
There is no significant difference for the ship’s crew in handling regular fuel oil versus biofuels. The use of a ‘drop-in’ biofuels, such as the one tested on ‘Volendam’, requires no shipboard refitting or special equipment, it was claimed.
The advanced biofuel is derived from feedstocks that are certified as 100% waste or residue, with no land-use issues and no competition with food production or deforestation.
“Marine biofuel is already the biggest low carbon marine fuel in the world and we expect usage to rise sharply to 10% of total volume by 2030,” said Dirk Kronemeijer, GoodFuels CEO and founder.
“Our extensive work in testing alternative marine fuels is a central part of our efforts to shape viable de-carbonisation options for our customers,” said Ricardo Opperman, Wärtsilä North America Managing Director.
“We are continuously developing our engine technology to accept and retain operational and environmental efficiency levels with various future fuels, including biofuels.
“These sea trials with 100% biofuel will be especially important — for Carnival Corporation, for Goodfuels, for Wärtsilä, and for the industry as a whole,” he stressed.
Supporting Corporate Sustainability, HAL is the first Carnival Corp brand to run a long-term 100% biofuels shipboard test. Last July, Carnival’s German brand, AIDA also partnered with Goodfuels to run a blended biofuels test on board ‘AIDAprima’ in Rotterdam.
While biofuels have been tested on large diesel engines housed at shoreside research facilities and on a few cargo ships, these represented the first live tests on working cruise ships.