Dredge completes 2,000 hours operation on biofuel

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Jan De Nul trailing suction hopper dredge Alexander von Humboldt

Jan De Nul Group’s trailing suction hopper dredge Alexander von Humboldt recently completed 2,000 hours operation on 100% renewable, second-generation biofuel oil (BFO).

The Alexander von Humboldt is a twin-screw vessel, with one propeller driven by a single MAN 12V32/40 engine (MCR 5,250 kW at 750 rpm = standard rating). The second propeller is driven by one MAN 12V32/40 type (MCR 4,750 kW at 750 rpm) and one MAN 7L32/40 type (MCR 2,775 kW at 750 rpm) engine via a twin-in, single-out gearbox. Both engine ratings are reduced as these engines also drive dredge pumps via power take-offs (PTOs) at the engine free end.

According to Jan De Nul Group, the 2,000-hour milestone marks the longest continuous use of 100% sustainable marine biofuel in the maritime industry and demonstrates that BFO is ready for use as a sustainable drop-in fuel to meet industry emissions reduction targets.

Patrice Mauger, Head of Region Europe at MAN Energy Solutions, said: “While our engine technology will remain the prime mover for deep-sea shipping, we have to prepare for the emergence of new fuels, such as BFO, as a supplier to the industry. As such, staying abreast of such developments is paramount to our success. The passing of this notable milestone is testament to the flexibility of our engines and of great credit to Jan De Nul Group whose commitment to decarbonization is exemplary.”


Leading up to the 2,000-hour milestone, the Alexander von Humboldt was refueled at various stages with BFO, which reportedly reduced the vessel’s CO2 emissions by a massive 85%. The vessel consumed the biofuel while conducting maintenance dredging works in Flemish seaports and the U.K.

The BFO used was introduced by GoodFuels in 2018. It was the first marine second-generation, fossil-fuel-equivalent biofuel to be completely derived from sustainable waste feedstock in line with the latest European renewable-energy directive.

Michel Deruyck, Head of Energy Department at Jan De Nul Group, said: “With our choice of this sustainable marine biofuel, we want to prove to the governments and our clients that if they have climate ambitions and incorporate these in the selection procedures, the industry is ready for it. It is very important now that the right policies and regulations follow to leverage the full potential of BFO. Research into fuels of the future is useful, but it should not prevent us from using sustainable solutions already available today for the much-needed energy transition within the shipping industry.”

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