South Korean Firm Explores Biodiesel Use in Low-Sulphur Fuel

Thursday, January 30, 2020

South Korea’s SK Chemicals has started tests on blending its biodiesel with petroleum-based fuels to create low-sulphur marine oil that will comply with new green shipping fuel standards, Oils & Fats International reported on January 09, citing Reuters reports.  The country’s largest biofuel maker was also considering increasing its biofuels output by 50% as it eyed what would be new market in the shipping sector, An Jung-bum, head of the company’s energy and petrochemical businesses.  

The International Maritime Organization (IMO)’s new global sulphur emissions cap came into effect on January 01, dropping from 3.5% to 0.5% in areas outside current emission control areas (Baltic Sea, North Sea, North America and US Caribbean), where the limit is 0.1%.  Ship owners must either use low-sulphur fuel to comply, switch to alternative fuels such as liquefied natural gas or install scrubbers on their ships to clean up emissions.
SK Chemicals could produce 500 million tons/year of biodiesel and biofuel oil, primarily using palm fatty acid distillate (PFAD) as a feedstock. Biodiesel could be blended with marine gasoil to reduce its sulphur content, but the higher costs of producing it remained a hurdle, while guidelines on specifications for biofuel oil to be blended with low-sulphur fuel oil were still under development. 

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