'Biofuel' is a term used to describe a fuel, gas or liquid that derives from biomass or biomass residues.
At the moment, the biofuels that are considered promising in the maritime industry are fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) & hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO). These types are drop-in biofuels and can be used in existing engines and fuel infrastructure.
However, biofuel covers a large range of other products too, making the overview of different biofuel products, generations, feedstocks, and blends rather complex.
There are three different generations of biofuels, depending on the source from which the fuel is derived:
- 1st generation biofuels are produced directly from food crops, such as corn, wheat, soybeans, and sugarcane.
- 2nd and 3rd generation biofuels are not produced from food crops but from non-edible plants and are classed as sustainable.
The infrastructure for the most dominant biofuels is well developed in several ports worldwide, especially the main ones.
For HVO and FAME, which are drop-in biofuels, it is possible to make use of the already established bunkering infrastructure. It is, however, not a global widespread operation outside the main ports.