GCMD publishes report “Tracking the Propensity of Biofuels Degradation across the Maritime Supply Chain”

This report aims to shed light on GCMD’s findings from tracking the quality of FAME and FAME blends as they make their way through the supply chains and on consumption onboard vessels.

The growing importance of biofuels in shipping

Biofuels are increasingly adopted as a drop-in fuel for the shipping industry to reduce GHG emissions. Fatty Acid Methyl Esters (FAME), a readily available biofuel, is gaining attention as an immediate solution to comply with EU and IMO regulations.

Understanding the extent with which biofuels degrade in the maritime supply chain

Unlike conventional marine fuels, FAME-based biofuels can be unstable since its natural oils and fats can slowly oxidise when exposed to atmospheric oxygen.

When oxidation happens, FAME can degrade to produce by-products, like peroxides, alcohols, and sludge, all of which can impact engine life and performance. Degradation can also be further accelerated by exposure to water, impurities, contaminants, light, and heat.

This raises a crucial question: Does FAME degrade significantly under actual commercial and storage conditions in the marine supply chains, hindering its potential as a widespread decarbonisation solution?

This is what GCMD report aims to shed light on.

Key insights and takeaways

Encouragingly, GCMD’s end-to-end supply chain trials detected no significant degradation of FAME under commercial operations conditions.

These findings offer strong support for FAME use in the marine fuels supply chain.

Read GCMD’s report to understand how the team traced the properties of FAME and FAME blends, and tracked the parameters of FAME quality, namely acid value, viscosity, FAME content, energy content and microbial contamination, of samples at different points along the supply chain to come to this conclusion.

What the report covers

  • Understanding the propensity of degradation of FAME
  • Tracing FAME quality in GCMD’s end-to-end supply chains
  • Understanding the current ISO specifications for FAME quality requirements
  • Contextualising GCMD’s findings per ISO specifications

Authored by industry experts

The report is co-authored by Dr. Prapisala Thepsithar, director of Projects, and Dr. Sanjay Kuttan, chief strategy officer, at GCMD.

It has also been reviewed by industry leaders: Dr. Malcolm Cooper, CEO of VPS, Captain Rahul Choudhuri, president, Strategic Partnerships, VPS and Ms. Monique Vermeire, fuels technologist at Chevron.

Visit GCMD’s website to download the report here: https://www.gcformd.org/our-publications/?report-id=6380