United Kingdom – Rio Tinto and BP have agreed to collaborate on a one-year biofuel trial to help Rio Tinto’s marine fleet reduce carbon emissions.
BP will supply Rio Tinto with marine biofuel for about a year as part of the trial. In one of the longest-duration marine biofuel trials to date, the fuel will be tested on Rio Tinto’s RTM Tasman vessel on a mix of Transatlantic and Atlantic-Pacific routes. Rio Tinto will use the results of the trial to research ways to reduce carbon emissions from its marine fleet and to inform its future biofuel strategy.
The RTM Tasman completed a successful journey after refueling with biofuel for the first time in Rotterdam in March 2022 and picking up its first load of the trial at the Iron Ore Company of Canada’s Sept-Îles port in Quebec in April. During the trial, all biofuel refueling will take place in Rotterdam.
The trial is using a B30 biofuel blend made by BP that contains 30% fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) and very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO). When compared to standard marine fuel oil, this B30 biofuel blend can reduce lifecycle carbon dioxide emissions by up to 26%.
FAME is a biodiesel-like renewable alternative fuel made primarily from recycled cooking oils and renewable oil sources. It has similar physical properties to conventional diesel and is a ‘drop-in fuel,’ requiring no engine or vessel modifications. The sustainability of the feedstocks used to make the FAME has been certified according to internationally recognized standards.
The trial will examine a variety of engine and fuel performance factors, including engine efficiency and fuel consumption, corrosion and degradation, microbial growth, temperature impact, fuel switching impacts, and fuel stability, in collaboration with BP and ship managers Anglo Eastern.