CIMAC Answers Questions On The New ISO 8217:2024


CIMAC Fuels Working Group (WG7), in cooperation with ISO/TC 28/SC 4/WG6 (ISO 8217 committee) has published a paper to address questions that are expected to arise around the new ISO 8217:2024 standard.

What happens to older versions of 8217?

According to the ISO procedure, standards retire when they are replaced and ISO 8217:2024 states that: ‘This seventh edition cancels and replaces the sixth edition (ISO 8217:2017), which has been technically revised. However, as the ISO 8217 standard is used in a commercial transaction between buyer and seller and the available fuel quality may not align to the new standard in some areas, the bunker purchase is often commercially agreed to an older, outdated ISO 8217 edition. Engine OEMs recommend using the latest version of ISO 8217.

What amendments and information should I be particularly mindful of in this new standard 2024?

As is usual when updating editions of ISO 8217, the main changes are listed in the “Foreword” of the new standard: The main changes are as follows: — terms and definitions (Clause 3) have been updated;

  • the Scope and the general requirements in Clause 5 have been amended;
  • Tables 2 and 3 have been added;
  • former Table 2 has been modified and has become Table 4;
    changes to the distillate fuels, including the following:
  • the requirement to report the fatty acid methyl ester(s) content (FAME) of DF grades has been changed, allowing up to 100 %;
  • the distinction between winter and summer quality for cloud point and cold filter plugging point has been removed;
  • the requirement to report the net heat of combustion for DF grades has been added;
  • a minimum cetane number requirement for DF grades has been added;
  • the requirement for oxidation stability for DF grades has been added;
    Clauses 9 and 10 have been added;
  • new Annexes F, H and K have been added (the former Annex F has become Annex G, the former Annex G has become Annex I, and the former Annex H has become Annex J);
  • existing annexes have been reviewed and updated.

Of all the alternative fuels being discussed in the industry, why does ISO 8217 only cover biofuels and not, for example methanol (MeOH)?

ISO 8217 (and ISO 8216) are standards setting the specifications and requirements for petroleum fuels and covers fuels containing hydrocarbons from petroleum crude oil, oil sands and shale oil or hydrocarbons with molecular structures that are indistinguishable from petroleum hydrocarbons. CIMAC Guideline by WG7 Fuels, 2024-02 (1st edition) Page 6 It also allows for some fuel grades to be blends of these hydrocarbons with FAME, or paraffinic diesel which has similar properties compared to distillate DMA, and for the use of up to 100 % FAME as fuel.

FAME has been used since 2004 in the automotive industry and successfully trialled in the shipping industry progressively since 2007, while becoming more important due to maritime emission regulations. It was therefore logical to introduce FAME as a standardized bio product in the ISO 8217:2024 edition.

Methanol has very different properties, not least a low flash point, and the characteristics require different test methods and regulatory compliance considerations which do not align with ISO 8217. To this extent a separate marine standard for methanol is currently under development by ISO and is expected to be published by late 2024 or early 2025.

Why does ISO 8217:2024 now have four tables, when traditionally, all previous standards have had two tables?

Since the publication of the 6th edition of ISO 8217:2017, regulatory changes (especially the 2020 MARPOL Annex VI sulfur reduction to 0.50%, worldwide) and the requirement to decarbonize shipping have resulted in new blend formulations and an introduction of biofuels in the marine market, to help reduce the carbon footprint of the fuels consumed.

As the nature of these new fuels/blends are more diverse compared to previous conventional fuel blends, they require a different focus or additional quality control parameters. It was therefore decided to separate the different types of fuels resulting in 4 tables setting the requirements for today’s marine fuels, these are:

  • Increased levels of FAME blending is allowed, and is reflected in Table 1;
  • ULSFO and VLSFO have been given their own separate table (Table 2) giving a more detailed and better adapted testing range for these types of more paraffinic fuels;
  • A table for bio-residual fuels has been added (Table 3);
  • High sulfur fuels are now covered by Table 4.

Why does the standard have two separate tables for non-bio residual fuel grades?

Experience from the introduction of VLSFOs in 2019/20, made it clear that the more paraffinic VLSFOs had different properties requiring an adapted test slate and limits compared to the traditional HSFO. As such, the residual fuel table was split into 2 individual tables:

  • ULSFO and VLSFO (Table 2 — Residual marine fuels with sulfur content below or at 0,50 % by mass)
  • HSFO (Table 4 — Residual marine fuels with sulfur content above 0,50 % by mass) tables.

Which biofuels are allowed according to ISO 8217? Which renewable fuels are allowed?

ISO 8217 includes the use of FAME in accordance with EN 14214 (except for sulfur content, cloud point, cold filter plugging point and climate tables) or ASTM D6751 (except for sulfur content) as a blend component in both distillate and residual fuels up to 100 %. CIMAC Guideline by WG7 Fuels, 2024-02 (1st edition) Page 7 Other national FAME standards, not referenced in this document, and alternative bio-based products such as off-spec FAME or FAME production distillation bottoms are all being considered to be used by the marine industry.

However, it is important that they align with the minimum requirements set by the scope of this document, with comparisons being made against EN 14214 or ASTM D6751 and meeting Clause 5 of the ISO 8217:2024 standard. Paraffinic diesel (by EN 15940) is also allowed in ISO 8217 (such as HVO, GTL, BTL) as a “drop in” fuel, that would say a fuel that cannot be distinguished from regular diesel through routine analysis and was already allowed in the previous editions of the standard since 2010. FAME (according to EN 14214 or ASTM D6751) however is the only permitted “biofuel” which has so far fulfilled all the criteria and although already present since 2010 at “de minimis” levels and in 2017 edition as “DF” grades with max 7% FAME, FAME (meeting above mentioned EN/ASTM standard) can now be introduced into the marine market in higher concentrations, up to 100%.

There are however an increasing range of new potential off specification biofuels being offered to the marine bunker pool under the guise of a biofuel or bio-oil. Suppliers in these cases, should be transparent to the receiving ship as to the specific bio blend composition and feedstock source.

Under these circumstances the ship’s classification society and OEMs should be approached and before accepting the product, should discuss their specific risk mitigation requirements for assessing the suitability of the fuel use prior to carrying out a sea trial.

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Source: CIMAC