Volkswagen to operate ships on vegetable oil to slash emissions

In an effort to lower its CO2 emissions by as much as 85% on certain vehicle shipments in Europe, car manufacturer Volkswagen Group will bunker two of its vehicle carriers with biofuel under a new partnership with Dutch fuel supplier GoodFuels

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Refuelling with biofuel oil (MR1-100 or BFO) at Vlissingen, the Netherlands, 2012-built roro Patara was able to reduce its CO2 emissions by a minimum of 85%, and all SOx emissions on its voyages between Emden (Germany), Dublin (Ireland), Santander (Spain) and Setubal (Portugal) with Volkswagen Group’s cargo.

This announcement comes at a time when shipping is under increasing pressure to comply with environmental regulatory changes and reduce its environmental impact.

Reducing CO2 emissions in the logistics supply chain by using biofuels is particularly attractive to manufacturers such as Volkswagen that supply electric vehicles. GoodFuels supplied its BFO – a sustainably sourced biofuel recipe from various certified feedstocks labelled as waste or residue.

BFO ‘drops in’ to normal fuel tanks, meaning no hardware changes are needed to realise the emissions impact. GoodFuels specialises in what is known in the industry as supplying B100 – a 100% fossil-free alternative for conventional fossil fuels.

Volkswagen Group Logistics said plans call for a second car carrier to begin using the biofuel made from vegetable residues in 2021.

The fuel is produced from materials such as used oil from restaurants and the food industry. “We are the first automaker to make widespread use of this fuel.

This way, we reuse waste oil in an environmentally compatible way. With 85% lower CO2 emissions than with conventional fossil fuels, the contribution to climate protection is enormous,” said Volkswagen Group Logistics head Thomas Zernechel.

The two 180-m car carriers each have a capacity for 3,500 vehicles and are powered by a 14,220-kW MAN B&W diesel.

They will refuel off the coast of Vlissingen with alternative fuel supplied by the Dutch company GoodFuels, reducing their CO2 emissions from over 60,000 to about 9,000 tonnes per year.

This change is part of a strategy to make Group Logistics even greener: another element is using LNG to power car carriers.

These vessels travel between Europe, North America and Latin America. Furthermore, all rail shipments in Germany with DB Cargo are being changed over to eco-power.

“This way, Volkswagen Group Logistics is helping the Group achieve net carbon neutrality by 2050,” said Mr Zernechel.

GoodFuels chief commercial officer Isabel Welten said “By partnering with Volkswagen Group Logistics, we are showcasing that sustainable biofuels are a scalable, truly sustainable, technically compliant, affordable, and market-ready solution.

The coming years are going to be momentous in terms of our decarbonisation journey, so we want to continue working with the market leaders to help make a real difference.”

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