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Australia's largest co-operative in biofuel trial

BP blend expected to reduce emissions by 15 percent.

The 2016-built dry bulk carrier Edwine Oldendorff. Image credit: Oldendorff Carriers

Updated on 11 Jan 2022 11:03 GMT

A trial voyage using biofuel for CBH Group, Australia's largest co-operative and one of the country's biggest agribusinesses, is being performed on the Edwine Oldendorff from Australia to Vietnam.

An advanced biofuel blend delivered by BP was used to refuel the cargo ship that is expected to result in a 15 percent reduction in emissions compared to conventional fossil fuels, according to the supplier.

The vessel last week loaded 30,000 tonnes of sustainably certified malting barley from the Albany Grain Terminal — one of CBH's four export terminals — for discharge in Vietnam.

The cereal grain is being delivered to Vietnam's leading malting company, Intermalt. The firm's malting plant in Cai Mep, Vietnam — opened in 2017 — is the biggest in South East Asia and services a number of brewing customers — the largest being Heineken, which has set itself the target of attaining a carbon-neutral value chain by 2040.

The aim of this trial of a second-generation biofuel is to test the supply chain and provide CBH and Oldendorff Carriers with greater experience regarding the practical issues involved in powering vessels with renewable energy blends.

Furthermore, the emission reduction potential of the fuel has been analyzed as part of Oldendorff Carriers' research agreement with MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Jason Craig, Chief Marketing and Trading Officer of CBH, commented: "Customers across the world are increasingly seeking to source sustainable products, including sustainable grain. It is our role, as Australia's leading grain exporter, to take the necessary steps to lower carbon emissions along our supply chain. Biofuel is one low-carbon option that could be part of the solution to reducing emissions in the shipping industry.

"We need to meet the growing market demand for sustainable or carbon-reduced grain by being proactive, practical and adapting. By doing this, we are making sure we can continue to keep our Western Australian growers competitive."

Ben Harper, Managing Director at Oldendorff Carriers, Melbourne, remarked: "We are very pleased to be collaborating with industry leaders CBH to trial biofuel in our vessel Edwine Oldendorff. Collaboration is crucial for us all to learn and share information about the best paths in our efforts to decarbonize the supply chain."

Last year, Oldendorff, together with BHP, GoodFuels and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), conducted the first marine biofuel trial involving an ocean-going vessel bunkered in Singapore. The 2020-built, 81,290-deadweight-tonne (dwt) dry bulk carrier Kira Oldendorff was bunkered with 'drop-in' advanced biofuel blended with conventional fossil fuels.

Shipowner and operator Oldendorff, which usually has around 750 bulk carriers under operation at any one time, aims to become emissions-free by 2050. The company has been able to lower its carbon footprint by swapping 90 percent of its fleet capacity into a new generation of 'eco' ships, whilst its Greenship Project targets the reduction of CO2 emissions via the use of fuel-saving devices, performance monitoring, low-friction paint and trim optimization.

According to vessel-tracking data, the Edwine Oldendorff departed from Albany, Western Australia, on January 9 and is set to arrive in Cai Mep, Vietnam, on January 20.

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