Volkswagen Powers Transport Ships With Biodiesel From GoodFuels

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Biofuels Cargo ship uses biofuel

Published on January 9th, 2021 | by Steve Hanley

January 9th, 2021 by  

Volkswagen is continuing its push to lower carbon emissions from all its operations, including the ocean going ships that deliver the cars and trucks it manufactures to foreign markets. Volkswagen Group distributes its automotive products to various countries around the world using several hundred commercial vessels and 11 chartered ship carriers. In all, it ships more than 2.8 million vehicles on more than 7,700 ocean voyages each year.

Last year it began using two new cargo ships powered by liquid natural gas for trans-Atlantic voyages. Using LNG lowers carbon emissions by 25%, nitrogen oxide emissions by 30% and fine particulates by 60%. In addition, the ships emit no sulfur oxides at all.

Cargo ship uses biofuel

Courtesy of Volkswagen

Now Volkswagen has taken another step down the path of reducing emissions from its distribution channel by partnering with GoodFuels, the leading marine biofuels supplier for the global maritime industry. The roll on/roll off car carrier Patara, which makes regular trips from the port of Emden in Lower Saxony to Dublin in Ireland, Santander in Spain, and Setubal in Portugal with new Volkswagens on board, was recently fueled with 100% GoodFuels Bio-Fuel Oil, which reduced the vessels carbon emissions by 85% and eliminated all SOx emissions as well.

BFO is a sustainably sourced biofuel made from a variety of certified feedstocks that have been classified as waste or residue. BFO ‘drops in’ to normal fuel tanks, meaning no hardware changes are needed to obtain the lower emissions that come from using a sustainable fuel. GoodFuels is currently one of the few options in the world for shipping companies who choose to pursue fossil fuel free operations.

Isabel Welten, chief commercial officer at GoodFuels, tells Renewable Energy Magazine, “We are extremely proud that a global brand like Volkswagen Group Logistics has sustainable shipping at the forefront of its operations, and is supporting our mission as an impact company to accelerate the energy transition in heavy transport. By partnering with Volkswagen Group Logistics, we are showcasing that sustainable biofuels are a scalable, truly sustainable, technically compliant, affordable, and market-ready solution. The coming years are going to be momentous in terms of our decarbonization journey, so we want to continue working with the market leaders to help make a real difference.”

For GoodFuels, this partnership underlines its ambition to become the leading sustainable fuel supplier for the deep sea segment, and further positions sustainable marine biofuels as a prime solution in accelerating shipping’s decarbonization puzzle in the next decade.

The Patara is only one of thousands of cargo ships plying the world’s oceans but as the Chinese proverb says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step. ” It’s all well and good to cheer the EV revolution, but all those electric cars have to get from the factory into the hands of customers somehow. Decarbonizing the distribution process is a big part of achieving the overall goal of reducing carbon emissions from the transportation sector. 


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About the Author

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his homes in Florida and Connecticut or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.

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