Mega-shipper tests biodiesel

By Nicholas Zeman | February 23, 2010
Posted March 10, 2010

Maersk Line, the large Denmark-based liner shipping company that services customers all over the world, used more than 9 million tons of bunker fuel in 2009 and has set a corporate target to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by "20 percent per container moved" by 2017.

On Mar. 5, Maersk announced that they were testing biodiesel in hopes that the fuel could help achieve those goals.

"To the best of our knowledge, we are the first to test biodiesel in a large container vessel," said Jacob Sterling of Maersk's sustainability team. "We want to be ready when biofuels become sustainable in large volumes."

Five business units are already carrying out tests on the fuel to see how biodiesel reacts to Maersk's tanks and engines. The test is being performed using biodiesel based on crops grown in temperate regions or reused oils, as the company stated it wants to use a "biofuel that does not take away agricultural land from the world's food supply."

Biodiesel blends between 5 percent and 7 percent are currently being tested. Maersk is cooperating with a consortium of Dutch sub-contractors on this project, which is being funded in part by the Dutch government.
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