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Götheborg of Sweden sets sail on marine biodiesel trial

Götheborg of Sweden is the world’s largest active wooden sail ship and a unique replica of an 18th century Swedish East India Company ship that sank outside of Gothenburg in 1745. The ship is today used as a platform to promote trade and sustainable innovations for a better future. When sailing to Stockholm, and back to Gothenburg, the ship Götheborg uses an RME biodiesel instead of marine diesel in two of its four fuel tanks.

Götheborg of Sweden is the world’s largest active wooden sail ship and a unique replica of an 18th century Swedish East India Company ship that sank outside of Gothenburg in 1745. The ship is today used as a platform to promote trade and sustainable innovations for a better future. When sailing to Stockholm, and back to Gothenburg, the ship Götheborg uses an RME biodiesel instead of marine diesel in two of its four fuel tanks (photo courtesy Street Studios).

Götheborg of Sweden is also a popular visitor destination. The ship Götheborg is operated by SOIC Ship Management, which is owned by Greencarrier AB, one of the largest, privately-owned logistics companies in the Nordic’s. The initiative to operate on biodiesel is part of a bigger sustainability commitment to minimize the ship’s environmental impact and promote solutions for a more sustainable world.

As part of our commitment to minimize our environmental impact, we are now doing a trial with biofuels. We want to show that it works and that there are considerable environmental gains to be made from using renewable fuels. To slow down global warming, the reduction of CO2 emissions is the biggest challenge that we face, and this is a way for us to take concrete action. Sustainability is a key focus for both us and our expedition to Asia in 2022, said Peter Alexandersson, CEO of SOIC Ship Management.

Despite being a sailing ship, Götheborg needs generators to run all systems onboard, and engines for situations when the ship cannot sail or when engines are needed in addition to the sails.

Götheborg’s engines are from the early 2000s and SOIC Ship Management has worked to find a solution with renewable fuel for minimal climate impact, without having to replace the engines. As a result, a biodiesel fuel, Verdis Polaris Marina from Adesso Bioproducts AB is now being used during the journey to and from Stockholm.

The marine segment is a market that is still very early in the transition to fuels with a lower climate impact. We believe that liquid biofuels play an important role in this transition, as it will still take many years before the extensive use of electric engines become a reality. In the meantime, biofuels have an instant positive effect on emission levels. We are very pleased that the ship Götheborg has chosen our product as part of their sustainability efforts, and we see them as a powerful symbol for a growing insight that the marine sector needs to take responsibility for its climate footprint, said Lars Lind, CEO at Adesso Bioproducts.

On an average day, while sailing, the ship uses around 1.6 m3 of fuel. For safety reasons during the trial of the RME biofuel, conventional marine diesel is used in half of the fuel tanks onboard the ship.

Götheborg has made a brave decision that demonstrates a power action to reduce their climate impact now. When using biofuels in all fuel tanks, the ship can reduce its emissions by more than 60 percent, compared with using conventional marine diesel. The international shipping industry today accounts for about 2 percent of the global climate emissions. By simply requesting alternative fuels for the upcoming Asian expedition, Götheborg sends a clear statement that there is a demand for sustainable marine fuels, said Victor Norberg at 2050 Consulting, sustainability advisor to Götheborg.

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