Dutch technology group GoodFuels and Biomass Technology Group (BTG) are exploring the options for a joint investment in a new high-tech company that can convert crude pyrolysis oil into diesel fuel suitable for the shipping sector.

This would be the first refinery in the world for an advanced marine biofuel based on pyrolysis oil as more of the world’s international shipping fleet approaches the phase of powering their engines using 100% sustainable biofuel.

The plans drafted by BTG for the next decade have been welcomed with enthusiasm by the shipping market.

GoodFuels, a Dutch-based pioneer and market leader in sustainable biofuels for shipping, sees sufficient potential in BTG’s plans to explore the possibility of a collective investment in the demonstration plant.

“Over the last five years, GoodFuels has laid out a clear pathway for the use of biofuels in the shipping sector. Together with partners such as Boskalis Loodswezen, Port of Rotterdam, Norden, Jan de Nul and its portfolio of GoodShipping A-Brand clients we have shown that these fuels will play an essential role in making shipping more sustainable,” Dirk Kronemijer, CEO of GoodFuels, said.

“Crucially, the next step is to scale up the processes without making any concessions in terms of the sustainability of the feedstocks used. BTG’s initiative meets all the success criteria, and we are very proud to work together with BTG to introduce this highly significant innovative technology in the Netherlands,” Kronemijer added.

The intended location for the new pilot plant is “as close to home as possible,” according to René Venendaal, CEO of BTG.

“At present, most ships, in particular seagoing vessels, use low-quality fuel oil that is almost tar-like in nature, or marine gasoil, or diesel oil, all containing high levels of carbon. The potential for growth in terms of sustainability – driven by the IMO’s Greenhouse Gas targets for 2030 and 2050 – is therefore extremely high for this sector,” Venendaal added.

The low-sulphur diesel fuel for the shipping sector made from pyrolysis oil will also ensure compliance with soon-to-be introduced global low sulphur fuel regulations.

The ports of Rotterdam and Eemshaven are the locations being considered for the first commercial processing plant.