Japanese shipping company NYK has held a ceremony to break ground at a site in Chiba Prefecture where the company will install a test engine facility to evaluate the safety of biofuels and accelerate their practical application.
The NYK Group aims to complete the installation of the test engine in June 2024 and analyse the biofuel in combustion tests over the next three years. NYK Group companies Boltech and Nippon Yuka Kogyo will participate in this project by utilising their engine operation and fuel oil analysis technologies to verify the potential of various biofuels.
Biofuels are produced from various raw materials, including grains and waste cooking oil, but only a few are currently being commercialised. More types of biofuels are expected to be commercialised in the future as demand for biofuels increases. However, about a year of testing and analysis at an external engine facility, followed by 12–18 months of onboard trials, is needed before continuous shipboard use of new fuels. NYK expects to shorten the test period and the time until the new fuel can be used on board by owning and operating the test engine.
The engine to be used will be a reused generator from the tugboat Sakigake, which is currently being converted for ammonia fuel.
Image: Groundbreaking ceremony (source: NYK)