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Holland America Line reports positive results from long-term biofuels test

Holland America Line reports positive results from long-term biofuels test
Holland America Line's Volendam bunkering marine biofuel supplied by GoodFuels at Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands (photo courtesy Holland America Line).

Holland America Line, a division of global cruise ship major Carnival Corporation and plc, has announced that it has completed what it says is the cruise industry's first multiweek test of biofuels onboard Volendam at Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

The 20-day test was conducted in partnership with GoodFuels, a leading producer and supplier of sustainable biofuels for the transportation industry, and Wärtsilä Oyj, a global leader in power and propulsion technologies and lifecycle solutions for the marine market.

The assessment was completed on September 7, 2022. In the first five days of the test, the ship used a mix of 30 percent biofuel and 70 percent marine gas oil (MGO) in one of its main auxiliary engines.

For the final 15 days of testing, the ship used 100 percent biofuel. According to GoodFuels, there was a 78 percent decrease in lifecycle carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions during the final 15 days of the trial compared to MGO emissions.

We were excited to have this opportunity to test a next-generation fuel resource on a Holland America Line ship, and we are very encouraged by the results. As part of our commitment to sustainability, we have always looked for cutting-edge solutions to environmental challenges that will help us meet Carnival Corporation’s sustainability goals over the coming decades, said Gus Antorcha, President of Holland America Line.

Biofuel bunkered at the Port of Rotterdam

Dutch-flagged Volendam was selected for the test since it was located at the Port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands one of the global ports where GoodFuels operates the infrastructure necessary to provide biofuel waterside fueling services.

Marine biofuel is already the biggest low-carbon marine fuel in the world and we expect usage to rise sharply to 10 percent of total volume by 2030, said Dirk Kronemeijer, CEO and Founder of GoodFuels.

There is no significant difference for the ship’s team members in handling regular fuel oil versus biofuel. The use of a “drop-in” biofuel such as the one tested on Volendam requires no shipboard refitting or special equipment.

The advanced biofuel is derived from feedstocks that are certified as 100 percent waste or residue, with no land-use issues and no competition with food production or deforestation.

Our extensive work in testing alternative marine fuels is a central part of our efforts to shape viable decarbonization options for our customers, said Ricardo Opperman, Managing Director of Wärtsilä North America Inc.

Supporting Carnival sustainability

Holland America Line is the first Carnival Corporation brand to run a long-term 100 percent biofuel shipboard test. Carnival Corporation’s German brand AIDA also partnered with Goodfuels in July this year to run a blended biofuel test on board AIDAprima in Rotterdam.

While biofuels have been tested on large diesel engines at shoreside research facilities and on a few cargo ships, these represented the first live tests on working cruise ships.

We are continuously developing our engine technology to accept and retain operational and environmental efficiency levels with various future fuels, including biofuels. These sea trials with 100 percent biofuel will be especially important — for Carnival Corporation, for Goodfuels, for Wärtsilä, and for the industry as a whole, said Ricardo Opperman.

The two brands’ biofuel tests support the overall environmental mission, goals, and aspirations of Carnival Corporation.

These include achieving a 40 percent reduction in carbon per available lower-berth-day by 2030; expanding its alternative fuels strategy across its liquefied natural gas (LNG) program and battery, fuel cell, and biofuel capabilities; delivering a 50 percent reduction in absolute air emissions of particulate matter (PM) by 2030; and “the aspiration to achieve” net carbon neutral operations by 2050.

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