Wärtsilä Collaborating in Marine Biofuels Program

By MarEx 2015-10-07 16:24:53

A consortium comprised of Wärtsilä, GoodFuels Marine, and Boskalis will head a two year pilot program to accelerate the development of sustainable, scalable and affordable marine bio-fuels. Bio-fuels are today not part of the marine fuel mix that operators and owners can choose and this means that shipping is missing an opportunity to use what should be an environmentally friendly fuel option.

The program’s focus will be on identifying suitable marine biofuels, securing industry certification, and preparing the building blocks for large-scale production. Additionally, the consortium will initiate a global scalability study involving leading ship owners, universities, NGOs, ports, bio-fuel companies and other industry stakeholders. The aim will be to identify tangible opportunities for scaling supply to the world’s commercial shipping fleet.

The consortium will test several next generation bio-fuels made from industrial waste streams, at the Wärtsilä laboratory in Vaasa, Finland before ‘sea trials’ are carried out on vessels within Boskalis’ global fleet. With the objective of developing a fuel mix that is fully sustainable, the program seeks to promote a reduced carbon footprint (up to 90 percent versus fossil fuels) for the maritime sector. The consortium believes that these bio-fuels will play a viable role in lowering emissions to levels that no other fuel can currently achieve without a capital-intensive fleet renewal or retrofitting.

Theo Baartmans, COO of Boskalis, commented: “We strongly believe in the need for sustainable “drop in” marine bio-fuels and their potential as part of the long term fuel mix, as we see them as an important means of improving the sustainability of the industry. Participating in this pilot and making our vessels available is in line with Boskalis’ approach to seeking innovations that work hand in hand with sustainability.”

GoodFuels Marine is a company based in the Netherlands specializing in sustainable marine fuels. The company’s CEO, Dirk Kronemeijer, added: “We believe that the international shipping market is now ready and well-placed to embrace truly sustainable, long term alternative fuels that can meet all stringent technical, economical and sustainability standards, just as witnessed in the sustainable jet fuel market five years ago. As the shipping industry seeks means of contributing towards carbon and wider emissions reduction, we are hugely excited to be part of such a strong consortium with the expertise and motivation needed to achieve this bold mission.”

Drop in bio-fuels are liquid hydrocarbons that are functionally equivalent to petroleum derived fuels, meaning that they can be effectively interchanged with conventional fuels. Minimal engine modifications may be necessary in some cases.

Russian Missile Strike on Syria from Caspian Sea

By MarEx 2015-10-07 15:08:12

Russia’s Defense Ministry has released video of four warships based in the Caspian Sea firing a total of 26 missiles into western Syria on Wednesday. The video appears to represent a dramatic escalation of Russia’s involvement in the Middle East in its support of Bashar al-Assad against Syrian rebel groups.

The Russian warships reportedly hit 11 of its 26 targets. The strikes spanned about 1,000 miles, and are believed to be Russia’s longest-range attack ever documented.

The cruise missiles flew over the Caucasus Mountains, Iran and Iraq before veering toward Islamic State held areas in the western portion of Syria. The missile attacks required the cooperation Iran and Iraq because they had to travel through each nation’s respective airspace.

Russia says it is only targeting terrorists and that it had worked with its partners to plan the flight path so that the missiles traveled only over desolate areas and didn’t pose any danger to civilians. Despite this claim, there have been reports that some of the strikes did in fact hit areas populated with civilians.

According to reports, the offensive aims to retake areas gained by the Army of Conquest, a group of insurgents that threated the government-held coastal province of Latakia. The province is believed to be a crucial territory for the Syrian government.

Russia’s attack comes just hours after reports surfaced that a ship chartered by the Russian government to make voyages to a government-controlled port in Syria was carrying military trucks when it headed to Syria last month according to photographs taken by a Turkish blogger.

Sources said that the vessel had been carrying Russian army Ural-4320 military trucks on its main cargo deck as it passed through the Bosphorus Strait on September 6.

The Ural-4320, a workhorse for the Russian army, is used to transport weapons and troops. It can also be used as a platform for a rocket launcher.