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This is the second IMCA Environmental Sustainability bulletin, and like the first, it is drawn from the inaugural IMCA Environmental Sustainability Awards made at the IMCA Annual Seminar in The Hague, Netherlands, in November 2018.  It relates to an initiative from IMCA contractor member Boskalis, involving the successful deployment of vessels powered by biofuels.

Reducing CO2 emissions is one of Boskalis’ long-term objectives.  Using biofuel is one aspect of the ‘Boskalis on Bio’ program, for which Boskalis signed a long-term partnership with a biofuel supplier.  The program is aimed at achieving a 35% reduction in the CO2 emitted by the Boskalis fleet and equipment in the Netherlands over the next five years.  Various sea trials conducted by Boskalis have shown that sustainable biofuels lead to an impressive reduction in CO2 emissions of up to 90% compared to fossil fuels and are also much more effective than alternatives such as liquefied natural gas (LNG).  Various Boskalis projects have used biofuels in which case they have contributed in achieving the company ambition to reduce CO2 by 35%.

What was done?

Together with its key suppliers, Boskalis conducts constant research into the technical feasibility of using cleaner and more efficient fuels on its equipment.  Boskalis makes targeted investments in this research and shares experiences with its strategic suppliers and clients to broaden the economic applicability.

Where environmentally friendly fuels are more costly than fossil fuels, economic feasibility also comes into play.  Once client appreciation of better environmental performance translates into acceptance of these costs, the application becomes economically viable as well, which is why Boskalis is keen to share the knowledge it gains from its tests with clients.

How did the improvement come about?

It all started in 2013 when Boskalis launched a pilot study on Bio diesels in close cooperation with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and SkyNRG.  SkyNRG provides biofuels in the aviation industry and has a clear mission to offer everyone the opportunity to fly sustainably.  KLM only used a small part of the available volume, which was why SkyNRG was looking to broaden the market to enable biofuels to compete with traditional fuels.  Boskalis employees accumulate many flight hours traveling to offices and projects worldwide.  KLM is Boskalis’ preferred carrier and so the link to this chain initiative was swiftly made.

Boskalis was keen to not only offset Boskalis environmental impact, but also wanted to engage in a structural solution.  Boskalis agreed to conduct a pilot with a number of trucks for civil infrastructure related projects and the purchasing of 250,000 litres of biofuel was a fact.  With this pilot study Boskalis contributed to the further development of the technical performance and know-how of sustainable diesel fuels.

What were the challenges?

For Boskalis, an important part of the partnership with the biofuel supplier was that its biofuels were made out of pure sustainable residual flows that did not compete with the food chain or result in the deforestation of rainforests.  This all took place under the supervision of an independent sustainability board consisting of leading NGOs and academics.

What was the final result?

Various trials conducted by Boskalis Nederland have shown that sustainable biofuels performed excellently while reducing CO2 emissions by an impressive 90% compared to fossil fuels.  During the construction of the Marker Wadden project in 2016, the Boskalis cutter suction dredger Edax dredged for six months using a B50 biofuel blend (50% of which consisted of residual products from the paper industry), and therefore resulted in a huge CO2 reduction.  Boskalis Nederland now uses this fuel not only for its vessels but also for its dry earthmoving equipment and trucks.

Boskalis has recently announced its intention to use a biofuel blend on the project to install the export cable to the Borssele offshore wind farm resulting in a more sustainable realization of this renewable energy project.  The Borssele Alpha project is being executed on behalf of TenneT and is aimed at connecting the Borssele offshore grid with the Dutch high-voltage grid.  During this project, Boskalis will run its vessels on a biofuel blend of up to 30 per cent.  As of last week, the large trailing suction hopper dredger Prins der Nederlanden is powered by a biofuel blend resulting in a substantial CO2 reduction.

Prins der Nederlanden powered by biofuel

Originally issued with the following reference(s): IMCA ESB 02/19

IMCA Contact

Nicholas Hough
Consultant - Safety and Security

Information Note Details

Published date: 5 April 2019
Information note ID: 1434


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