Danish firm claims first biofuel commercial sea voyage

It is thick, black and cheap. Dirk Kronemeiier describes it as the “dirtiest fuel ever invented by mankind.” He believes his biofuel company, Good Fuels, has developed part of the solution to cutting the shipping industry’s huge carbon footprint. Shipping is estimated to contribute more than 2% of global carbon dioxide emissions. However, as global trade grows, that figure is expected to rise.

The UN body that regulates shipping, the International Maritime Agency, says the industry needs to cut total CO2 emissions by 50% by 2050. Mr Kronemeiier describes his company’s biofuel as “a game changer” because existing ships do not need to be modified to run on it.

Over three years, bioengineers at his Dutch company developed the fuel, which is made from used cooking oil, but could also be made from urban waste or forest residue. When burnt, the fuel produces carbon dioxide. But the firm says this is offset by the fact that the fuel is made from organic material, which has absorbed a similar amount of the gas at a previous stage. It is therefore deemed to be mostly carbon neutral. The company says its fuel has been certified by independent experts and is sustainable. It says it would never use controversial materials such as palmoil.