Mass Balancing Transition To Deploy Low-Emission Fuels

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  • Mass balancing will be crucial for shipping to meet the International Maritime Organisation’s guided emission reduction targets.
  • Mass balancing allows renewable and non-renewable feedstocks to be blended while keeping a tally of them.
  • It involves quantifying the amount of sustainable feedstock used during production, distribution, blending and bunkering.

Increasing numbers of shipping firms and fuel suppliers are embracing a mass balancing approach to deploy low-emission fuels on vessels without having to invest in additional bunker or vessel infrastructure, reports Engine.

Tracking flows of sustainable feedstocks in the supply chain

Mass balancing will be crucial for shipping to meet the International Maritime Organisation’s guided emission reduction targets, Bashir Lebada, the chief executive of renewable fuel producer OCI Methanol told ENGINE last August. The method allows green fuel producers to produce low-emission fuels at existing facilities alongside traditional products without having to build new facilities, Lebada noted.

Mass balancing is an accounting method used to track flows of sustainable feedstocks in the supply chain. It allows renewable and non-renewable feedstocks to be blended while keeping a tally of them. It involves quantifying the amount of sustainable feedstock used during production, distribution, blending and bunkering. This will theoretically ensure that the blended fuel is not claimed to be greener than the quantity of sustainable feedstock used. It can also remove the need for production plants to be close to every bunker port that sustainable fuels are supplied in.

The shipping industry showed greater support for this approach this week. Global retailers’ coalition Zero Emission Maritime Buyers Alliance (ZEMBA) has argued that mass balancing reduces costs related to bunkering green fuels. One company claims that the approach addresses limited availability of low-emission fuels. And global certification system International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) has also promoted the mass balance approach as a way to make “credible claims” within its system.

Claiming emission reductions

German container shipping firm Hapag-Lloyd will source “blended” liquefied bio-methane (LBM) from suppliers for injection into the European gas grid on a mass balance basis, ZEMBA explained. “The ZEMBA team considered the possibility of delivering the fuel directly to a vessel, but doing so would have incurred both higher costs and greater emissions to transport the fuel,” it added.

Hapag-Lloyd will then allocate carbon credits to ZEMBA members that are equivalent to the emission reductions achieved from injecting LBM into the European grid. It will do this using its book-and claim mechanism. Through this system, cargo owners will be able claim emission reductions even if vessels carrying their cargoes are powered by fossil fuels, as long as they have paid a premium.

Partners in the Singapore-Rotterdam Green and Digital Shipping Corridor (GDSC) initiative will start one-year bio-methane bunkering trials with mass balancing from this year. They said this mass balancing will involve physical blending of certified bio-methane with non-certified fossil LNG across shared transport, storage and distribution channels like pipelines.

Norwegian shipping firm Wallenius Wilhelmsen plans to replace over 10% of its bunker fuel consumption with biofuel blends this year. It will mainly use B30 blends, comprising 30% used cooking oil methyl ester (UCOME)-based biofuel and 70% conventional fuel, the company said. Wallenius Wilhelmsen will pass emission reductions on to its customers through carbon insets based on a mass balance concept, citing limited availability of biofuel blends in certain ports.

In other news, the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore received 50 proposals from companies vying to facilitate methanol bunkering in the port, after it issued an expression of interest last year. The proposals came from energy companies, fuel suppliers, traders, bunker operators and storage companies, the MPA said.

Skipavika Green Ammonia (SkiGA) will purchase renewable electricity from Norwegian power company Hafslund to enable green ammonia production in Skipavika, Norway. Hafslund aims to produce up to 100,000 mt/year of green ammonia, although it has not said whether any of it will be allocated to bunkering specifically.

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Source: Engine