Hopper Dredger sails 2,000 hours on 100 per cent marine biofuel

Hopper Dredger sails 2,000 hours on 100 per cent marine biofuel
Jan De Nul’s Trailing Suction Hopper Dredger ‘Alexander von Humboldt’. Image courtesy of MAN Energy Solutions.

Jan De Nul Group has announced that its trailing suction hopper dredger, ‘Alexander von Humboldt’, has completed 2,000 hours of operation on 100 per cent renewable, second-generation Biofuel Oil (BFO). The vessel is powered by 2 × MAN 12V32/40 and 1 × MAN 7L32/40 main engines.

Jan De Nul Group reports that this major milestone represents the longest continuous use of 100 per cent sustainable marine biofuel in the maritime industry and states that the achievement further reinforces the successful adoption of this fuel solution. The successful operation of the vessel indicates to the maritime world that BFO is ready for use as a sustainable drop-in fuel to meet industry emissions reduction targets.

The Alexander von Humboldt is reportedly the first vessel in the world to record this biofuel milestone. The important technical benchmark of 2,000 sailing hours proves the technical applicability and capabilities of sustainable marine biofuel in operations. At the same time, it opens the door to cross-sectoral collaboration with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), class societies, flagstates, and supply chains to accelerate the supply of these fuels into mainstream use.

Leading up to the 2,000-hour milestone, the Alexander von Humboldt was refuelled at various stages with BFO, which massively reduced the vessel’s CO2 emissions by 85 per cent. The vessel consumed the biofuel while conducting maintenance dredging works in Flemish seaports and the United Kingdom.

The Alexander von Humboldt has two propellers, with one driven by a single MAN 12V32/40 engine (MCR 5,250 kW at 750 rpm = standard rating). The second propeller is driven by one MAN 12V32/40 type (MCR 4,750 kW at 750 rpm) and one MAN 7L32/40 type (MCR 2,775 kW at 750 rpm) engine via a twin-in, single-out gearbox. Both engine ratings are reduced as these engines also drive dredge pumps via power take-offs (PTOs) at the engine free end.

The BFO was introduced by GoodFuels in 2018. It was the first marine second-generation, fossil-fuel-equivalent biofuel that is completely derived from sustainable waste feedstock in line with the latest European renewable-energy directive. GoodFuels introduced the BFO as a credible carbon-based solution to accelerate the energy transition.

Michel Deruyck, head of energy department at Jan De Nul Group, said: “With our choice of this sustainable marine biofuel, we want to prove to the governments and our clients that if they have climate ambitions and incorporate these in the selection procedures, the industry is ready for it. It is very important now that the right policies and regulations follow to leverage the full potential of BFO. Research into fuels of the future is useful, but it should not prevent us from using sustainable solutions already available today for the much-needed energy transition within the shipping industry.”

Patrice Mauger, head of region Europe at MAN Energy Solutions, commented: “While our engine technology will remain the prime mover for deep-sea shipping, we have to prepare for the emergence of new fuels, such as BFO, as a supplier to the industry. As such, staying abreast of such developments is paramount to our success. The passing of this notable milestone is testament to the flexibility of our engines and of great credit to Jan De Nul Group whose commitment to decarbonisation is exemplary.”