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Oct 2019

Biofuels quota for shipping studied

Norwegian authorities have released “The Government’s action plan for green shipping” in which increasing the use of biodiesel is clearly mentioned as an important mean of halving emissions from domestic shipping by 2030.

As was the case with the aviation sector (0.5% vol. blending obligation from 2020), Norway is seriously thinking about introducing a biofuels quota for the shipping sector. The document is very clear about the role biodiesel could play: “The Ministry of Climate and Environment has asked the Norwegian Environment Agency, in cooperation with the Norwegian Maritime Authority, to review the possibility and consequences of introducing a biofuel quota obligation for sustainable biodiesel and biogas for shipping. To ensure that such an arrangement has global climate and environmental benefits, advanced biofuels should be used, based on feedstock such as biological residues and waste-” The report from the agency is expected before the end of 2019, when an environmental impact assessment will be launched before the obligation for shipping can be officially introduced. In this perspective, 2021 looks a likely start date for the new obligation.

The country has the ambition to set a world premiere, as it did for aviation biofuels mandate. Since LNG is seen as a fast and efficient way to decrease ships’ GHG emissions, the biofuel quota would incentivize liquefied biogas (LBG) to increase the benefits from LNG use. In parallel, vessels running on petrol could use Fame and HVO to rapidly increase the share of renewable of the sector. A limitation to the share Fame could cover is clearly expressed: “Biodiesel may to a varying extent have negative long-term effects on ships’ engines, and storage and transport may present challenges. This applies particularly if lower-quality biodiesels are used in blending, typically conventional biodiesel.” Indirectly, HVO is praised here as the n°1 option. The third mean mentioned are passenger-carrying electric ferries, 70 of which could be in use as soon as 2021.