The IMO's MEPC approved the rule change at its most recent meeting earlier this month. Image Credit: Ship & Bunker
The use of biofuel blends as marine fuels could be boosted by a recent regulation change at the IMO, according to industry body IBIA.
The recent MEPC meeting at the IMO earlier this month altered the Marpol Annex XI Regulation 18 standard previously applied that fuels should not cause the engine to exceed the applicable NOx emission limit, IBIA said in a note to members on its website this week.
"Meeting applicable sulphur limits is normally not a challenge for biofuels; however the nature of the NOx Technical Code has been problematic as engine certification and the associated IAPP-certificate requires that the parent engine test is undertaken on a DM-grade (distillate) marine fuel in accordance with ISO 8217:2005," the organisation said.
"To demonstrate that biofuels do not "cause an engine to exceed the applicable NOx emission limit" has been a challenge.
"It would require either on-board emission testing and monitoring, or engine and fuel-specific NOx emissions validation testing, with the added complexity of not being able to define a reference biofuel."
Under a new rule approved by the MEPC this month, a new 'Unified Interpretation' (UI) can be used for biofuel blends when applying the rule.
"This UI means that biofuel blends up to 30% (B30) will be regarded in the same way as regular oil-based fuels," IBIA said.
"It also allows the use of B30 to B100 biofuels for 'engines certified in accordance with regulation 13 of MARPOL Annex VI which can operate on a biofuel or a biofuel blend without changes to its NOx critical components or settings/operating values outside those as given by that engine's approved Technical File.'
"Experience to date is that no engine setting changes have been needed to operate on up to B100 biofuels."