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SK Chemicals starts tests on biodiesel use as bunkers for IMO 2020

South Korea’s SK Chemicals has started tests on blending biodiesel with petroleum-based fuels to create low sulphur fuel oil (LSFO) for shipping, in view of the upcoming IMO 2020 regulation.

SK Chemicals, a biofuel maker, is also considering increasing its biofuels output by 50% as it believes there will be a new demand market coming from the shipping sector, according to An Jung-bum, head of the company’s energy and petrochemical business.

“We see there will be great needs for marine biofuels because they are sulphur-free and that gives us an edge to biofuels,” An was reported saying by Reuters.

He explained that biofuels can be used to increase the lubricity of new marine fuels, replacing sulphur as the lubricant.

“However, we need clear (IMO) guidelines and legislation about marine biofuels’ properties, such as viscosity to better prepare (for the demand),” An was quoted saying.

SK Chemicals produce around 500,000 kilolitres per year of biodiesel and biofuel oil, currently mainly used for fuel blending for domestic transportation and power generation.

Last year, the company started exports with about 20,000 kilolitres of biodiesel shipped to Europe.

The company is now looking at capacity expansion based on market conditions at home and abroad.

“We’re planning as we think the marine biofuel market would grow,” An said.