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Rio Tinto and BP launch one-year biofuel trials

Mining giant Rio Tinto will be working with BP on a one-year biofuel trial to help reduce carbon emissions from its fleet. Under the deal, BP will be supplying biofuel for Rio Tinto’s 2013-built capesize bulker RTM Tasman on a mix of Transatlantic and Atlantic-Pacific routes, in what is said to be one of the longest-duration marine biofuel trials to date. 

The extended trial agreement follows a journey on the RTM Tasman after it refuelled with biofuel in Rotterdam in March 2022 for the first time and then picked up its first load of the trial at the iron ore company of Canada’s Sept-Îles port in Quebec in April. All biofuel refuelling during the trial will be at Rotterdam. The trial is using a BP-manufactured B30 biofuel blend composed of 30% fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) blended with very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO). This B30 biofuel blend is said to reduce lifecycle carbon dioxide emissions by up to 26% compared to standard marine fuel oil. 

Working with BP and the ship managers, Anglo Eastern, the trial will analyse a series 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. 

Rio Tinto has set an ambition to reach net-zero emissions from shipping its products to customers by 2050 and to introduce net-zero carbon vessels into its portfolio by 2030. According to its head of commercial operations, Laure Baratgin, sustainable biofuels have the potential to be an important transition fuel on the way to net-zero marine emissions, and a longer-duration trial should provide important information on their potential role and wide-scale use.

Adis Ajdin

Adis is an experienced news reporter with a background in finance, media and education. He has written across the spectrum of offshore energy and ocean industries for many years and is a member of International Federation of Journalists. Previously he had written for Navingo media group titles including Offshore Energy, Subsea World News and Marine Energy.
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