Jan 24, 2023 | Marine fuel & lubricant news

According to Alfa Laval, biofuels are a current and accessible fuel option that can help marine customers decarbonise, though the reduction of CO2 footprint brings new operational challenges.

Alfa Laval has addressed these challenges through the introduction of biofuel-optimised separators and upgrades for existing equipment, which the company believes is an industry first. Biofuels like HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil) and FAME (fatty acid methyl ester) can be used by diesel engines without major engine modifications. They can be a carbon-neutral alternative if produced from the right biomass, but they must still be cleaned effectively to prevent performance issues and expensive engine wear. Alfa Laval’s high-speed separators are now compatible with HVO (EN15940) and with FAME (EN14214 or ASTM D6751) blends comprising residual fuel and/or distillate.

Markus Hoffmann, Alfa Laval Global Sales Manager, Marine Separation and Heat Transfer Equipment, said: “We are proud to support our customers’ decarbonisation journey, no matter which fuel path they take. Biofuels will be the choice for many marine vessels, but customers must be certain that their equipment is prepared for them. With biofuel-ready separators and cost-efficient biofuel upgrades, Alfa Laval can provide that certainty.”

Biofuels are already in widespread use, and ISO is looking to incorporate them into the 2024 revision of ISO 8217. Nevertheless, they can be prepared in various ways and differ widely in their characteristics – both from conventional fuels and from each other. Because of differences in density, moisture absorption and more, they demand additional care when it comes to fuel storage and treatment. To ensure optimal biofuel separation, Alfa Laval has modified both internal bowl components and the separator software. This makes setting up for HVO, FAME blends or conventional fuels a simple parameter change. Incorporated into new Alfa Laval separators for purchase, the developments are also available as upgrades for existing separators.

Hoffmann concluded: “Optimising for biofuels is nothing that occurs overnight. Our biofuel-ready separators build on deep fuel insights, extensive research at the Alfa Laval Test and Training Centre and long cooperation with ISO and CIMAC. As biofuels continue to evolve, customers can count on Alfa Laval for efficient engine protection, just as they have with conventional marine fuels.”

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