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Rio Tinto and bp sign one-year trial of marine biofuels

Christian Fernsby |
Rio Tinto and bp have agreed to work together on a one-year biofuel trial to help reduce carbon emissions from Rio Tinto’s marine fleet.

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Under the trial, bp is supplying Rio Tinto with marine biofuel for approximately 12 months. The fuel will be trialled on Rio Tinto’s RTM Tasman vessel on a mix of Transatlantic and Atlantic-Pacific routes, in one of the longest-duration marine biofuel trials to date.

The results of the trial will help Rio Tinto study ways to reduce its carbon emissions from its marine fleet and inform its future biofuel strategy.

The extended trial agreement follows a successful 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 can reduce lifecycle carbon dioxide emissions by up to 26% compared to standard marine fuel oil.

FAME is a renewable alternative fuel (biodiesel) largely produced from recycled cooking oils and renewable oil sources. It has physical properties similar to conventional diesel, and is a ‘drop in fuel’, requiring no modifications to the engine or vessel. The origination and production of the feedstocks used to produce the FAME is certified for its sustainability to internationally recognized standards.

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 is also accelerating the delivery of its climate commitments on shipping. It has delivered a 30% intensity reduction on its owned and time-chartered fleet from a 2008 baseline, and is on track to meet the International Maritime Organisation’s 2030 targets of a 40% reduction in emissions five years early, by 2025.

bp is working with companies in key industrial sectors such as shipping, that have significant carbon emissions to manage, supporting their work to decarbonize.


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