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Glycerine 'viable' as cheap, no-sulphur marine fuel, says LR

Glycerine 'viable' as cheap, no-sulphur marine fuel, says LR
The Glycerine Fuel for Engines and Marine Sustainability (GLEAMS) project has concluded that bio-diesel by-product glycerine is a viable alternative ship fuel.

The group, comprising Lloyd’s Register EMEA, Marine South East, Aquafuel Research, Gardline Marine Sciences, and Redwing Environmental, proved that the fuel will be a viable option for ship engines. If adopted, the fuel, sometimes called glycerol, could offer a cheaper alternative to LNG and distillates, while also offering a higher efficiency than diesel, with no sulphur emissions, very low NOx emissions and virtually no particulates.

On top of this, retrofit is said to require nothing more than a modification to the engine’s external engine aspiration system; is water-soluble, with little to no damage caused to sea life in the event of a spill; and is “nearly impossible to ignite accidentally”.

Seatrade previously highlighted how adoption of Glycerine as ship fuel could spur biodiesel adoption on land, by giving refiners a use for the financially-unworkable surplus of the by-product.

A press statement by the group indicated “The GLEAMS project has been particularly successful in dispelling the widely held view that glycerine is unsuitable for use as a fuel due to its physical and chemical properties. The project very publicly demonstrated that glycerine could be used as a fuel in compression ignition engines by displaying the glycerine powered GLEAMS emissions test engine for three days at Seawork International 2014.”

The GLEAMS project is in the process of courting early adopters for the technology, which are said to include some offshore vessels as well as research vessels.

“The available quantities are insufficient to power the world’s deep-sea shipping fleets,” GLEAMS wrote, but highlighted, “there is potential for a massive increase in glycerine supply from other organic renewable means such as salt-stressed algae. The commercial prospects for this are not yet clearly established but promising research continues. GLEAMS has been working the University of Greenwich, leaders in the field of algal glycerine production.”

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