“K” Line Tug Undergoes Biodiesel Trial Voyage

The fueling of the tugboat Aihomaru. Photo: “K” Line.

“K” Line Port Service Co., a subsidiary of Japanese shipping company “K” Line, said in late June that it has completed a demonstrative test voyage with the tugboat Aihomaru, with the tug operating on biodiesel fuel.

Biodiesel fuel is carbon neutral and can be used without changing the specifications of existing marine diesel engines by mixed combustion with heavy fuel oil (HFO), which is the main fuel for ships.

The biodiesel fuel supplied by Toyotsu Energy Corp. for the voyage was made from waste cooking oil, according to the shipping line. The trial was conducted at the Port of Nagoya, Japan’s largest, busiest seaport.

“This initiative contributes to a circular economy through the construction of a supply chain based on local production for local consumption,” “K” Line said in a statement. “In the demonstrative test voyage, the fuel supply vessel (bunkering vessel) supplied marine biofuel to the Aihomaru with using a ship-to-ship method, with the aims of verifying that there is no hindrance to … ship operations and reducing CO2 emissions in operation.”

The operation is part of the shipping line’s long term emissions reduction goals.

The “K” Line Group’s long-term environmental guidelines — known as the “K” Line Environmental Vision 2050 Blue Seas for the Future — has set a target of 50% improvement in CO2 emission efficiency compared to 2008, which exceeds the 2030 target of 40% improvement in CO2 emission efficiency (also in comparison with 2008) set by the International Maritime Organization.

“K” Line has also stated that it aims to drive its own decarbonization efforts and support the decarbonization of society. It has set a target of achieving net-zero GHG emissions by 2050.

“Going forward,” the company said in a statement, “the (“K” Line”) Group will continue working to achieve these targets by introducing alternative fuels that can reduce its environmental impact.”