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Volkswagen fueling car carriers with fuel derived from used cooking oil; GoodFuels BFO

Volkswagen Group Logistics will be using certified fuel from vegetable residues for certain new car shipments via marine routes. The fuel is produced from materials such as used oil from restaurants and the food industry.

The first car freighter was refueled for the first time with this oil in mid-November 2020 and a second ship is due to follow at the beginning of 2021.

We are the first automaker to make widespread use of this fuel. This way, we reuse waste oil in an environmentally compatible way. With 85 percent lower CO2 emissions than with conventional fossil fuels, the contribution to climate protection is enormous.

—Thomas Zernechel, Head of Volkswagen Group Logistics

For European shipments, Volkswagen Group Logistics continuously charters two vessels which carry up to 3,500 vehicles on a route from Emden via Dublin (Ireland), Santander (Spain) and Setubal (Portugal) back to Emden about 50 times per year. In the course of their journeys, they carry about 250,000 new vehicles of the Audi, SEAT, ŠKODA, Volkswagen Passenger Cars and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles brands every year.


The two ships, which are both 180 meters long, are each powered by a MAN marine diesel with more than 19,000 PS (14,220 kW). In future, the two ships will be refueled at sea off the coast of Vlissingen (Netherlands) with GoodFuels’ advanced Bio-Fuel Oil (MR1-100 or BFO).

BFO ‘drops in’ to normal fuel tanks, meaning no hardware changes are needed to realise instant emissions impact.


This way, the CO2 emissions of the two conventional vessels along their route will be reduced by more than 85%—from more than 60,000 to about 9,000 tonnes per year. In addition, sulfur oxide emissions will be almost completely avoided.

This change is part of a strategy to make Group Logistics even greener: another element is the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to power car freighters. These vessels travel between Europe, North America and Latin America. Furthermore, all rail shipments in Germany with DB Cargo are being changed over to eco-power.



What would happen if they just uses diesel or whatever they used to use?
Would someone else use the biofuel, or do they make extra biofuel based on demand?
Even going to LNG would be a good thing. Most marine fuel is very dirty - lots of sulphur dioxide etc.

Thomas Pedersen

I suppose it will leave the crew eternally hungry, what with the permanent smell of fries onboard...

This oil would most likely have been used anyway. In Denmark we add it to biogas digesters and produce biomethane.

LNG is not the most fantastic fuel, because as little as 1% spillage and/or unburnt fuel equates to a GWP (Global Warming Potential) as bad as bunker fuel, albeit with fewer emissions of pollutants (which are now mostly captured by scrubbers - and emitted to the sea locally)


Bio LNG and SOFCs would work fine.

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