Cleaner Fuel for Ships

May 2020

German researchers have announced they are now capable of producing a novel renewable biofuel for use in ships.

The fuel was developed at the the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT in Oberhausen. It is made of natural waste products.

“Straw, leaves, sawdust, waste wood – we can use almost anything as the feedstock for bioethanol,” said Fraunhofer engineer Andreas Menne in a press release.

Heavy vessels like merchant and cruise ships have come under increasing criticism for the levels of pollution they cause. Researchers say the new synthetic fuel could lower greenhouse gas emission by 30 percent and reduce soot emissions. The procedure involved can also be used to make kerosene for airplanes.

“Converting ethanol into multiple ready-to-use fuels is a key enabler for unlocking the full CO2-reduction potential of biofuels, since blending is not needed anymore,” says Germany Trade & Invest energy expert Tobias Rothacher. “The use of waste straw as input material demonstrates how biomass can be utilized in a sustainable way. This technology lifts second generation biofuels to a new level and underlines Germany’s leading position in the adoption and development of sustainable biofuels.”

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