At the dou­ble: bio­fuels boost puts UECC on cour­se to beat emis­si­ons reduc­tion target

United European Car Carriers (UECC) is reaping the rewards of its pioneering investments in alternative fuels and is on track to exceed its goal of a 45% emissions reduction by 2030 after more than doubling biofuel usage across its fleet last year.

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The lea­ding Euro­pean sus­tainable short­sea car­ri­er has made signi­fi­cant stri­des in decar­bo­ni­sa­ti­on of its fleet of pure car and truck car­ri­ers (PCTCs) with the addi­ti­on of five LNG-fuelled new­builds and the increased roll­out of bio­fuels in recent years – and this is now show­ing com­mer­cial pay­back for cli­ents in the light of new green regu­la­ti­ons, accor­ding to Ener­gy and Sus­taina­bi­li­ty Mana­ger Dani­el Gent.

UECC boos­ted the use of ISCC-certified sus­tainable bio­fuel B100 on both owned and time-chartered ships to 14,000mt last year, up from 6500mt in 2022.

The com­pa­ny achie­ved a total tank-to-wake emis­si­ons reduc­tion of over 60,000 ton­nes across its 14-vessel fleet in 2023, of which it is esti­ma­ted increased bio­fuel use accoun­ted for 40,000 ton­nes, with the rema­in­der coming from LNG. This was a near-250% increase on the emis­si­ons cut of 24,200 ton­nes achie­ved in 2022.

Posi­ti­ve EU ETS impact

“Con­se­quent­ly, we are well on the way to reach or exceed our 45% emis­si­ons reduc­tion tar­get by 2030. This cle­ar­ly has a posi­ti­ve impact for tho­se bio-supportive car­go owners in terms of redu­cing cos­ts rela­ted to the EU Emis­si­ons Tra­ding Sys­tem (EU ETS),” Gent says.

“Fur­ther­mo­re, 85% of the ves­sels in our fleet achie­ved a C‑rating last year with the IMO’s Car­bon Inten­si­ty Indi­ca­tor (CII) and this year we expect all our ships to achie­ve this rating or above.”

Gent also points out the UECC fleet is alre­a­dy in sur­plus in rela­ti­on to the requi­re­ment for an avera­ge 14.5% reduc­tion in GHG inten­si­ty by 2035 under the Fue­lEU Mari­ti­me regu­la­ti­on due to be imple­men­ted next year.

The envi­ron­men­tal per­for­mance of UECC’s cur­rent fleet of nine owned and five time-chartered PCTCs has been enhan­ced through deli­very over the past seven years of five eco-friendly new­builds – a pair of dual-fuelled LNG ves­sels and trio of multi-fuel LNG bat­tery hybrid units.

The use of LNG redu­ces emis­si­ons of CO2 by around 25%, SOx and par­ti­cu­la­te mat­ter by 90% and NOx by 85%, while the latest bat­tery hybrid new­builds exceed the IMO tar­get to redu­ce car­bon inten­si­ty by at least 40% from 2008 levels by 2030.

Pio­nee­ring alter­na­ti­ve fuels

UECC is now loo­king at sourcing alter­na­ti­ve carbon-neutral fuels such as bio-LNG and e‑LNG for the­se ves­sels to fur­ther impro­ve their green per­for­mance, accor­ding to Gent.

UECC’s adop­ti­on of alter­na­ti­ve fuels has expan­ded expo­nen­ti­al­ly sin­ce the pro­gram­me was laun­ched in 2020 with pilo­ting the use of bio­fuel on its ves­sel Auto­sky, bols­te­red by valuable sup­port from owners of its time-chartered ves­sels, cli­ents such as BMW, fuel sup­pli­ers like Good­Fuels, indus­try part­ners, and parent com­pa­nies NYK and Wal­le­ni­us Lines.

“We are now in the fifth year of run­ning our bio­fuels pro­gram­me and it has gone from strength to strength. UECC has sought to take a lea­ding role through early-stage ana­ly­sis of new bio­fuels to eva­lua­te their poten­ti­al in terms of tech­ni­cal sui­ta­bi­li­ty, sus­taina­bi­li­ty and com­mer­cial via­bi­li­ty, both  to deli­ver the best solu­ti­on for our cus­to­mers and give the sec­tor a blue­print for assess­ment and adop­ti­on of such fuels based on the­se three pil­lars,” Gent explains.

He adds that, in terms of sus­taina­bi­li­ty cri­te­ria, the com­pa­ny looks for bio­fuels with the big­gest envi­ron­men­tal impact, with a typi­cal mini­mum 90% reduc­tion in GHG inten­si­ty from well-to-wake com­pared with con­ven­tio­nal mari­ne fuels. 

Paving way for decarbonisation

UECC has ste­adi­ly expan­ded the use of green fuels to cover 30% of its fleet in 2023, up from 18% in 2022, and is on track to achie­ve 50% covera­ge this year towards the goal of 80% by 2030, though Gent is con­fi­dent of sur­pas­sing this figure.

He says being proac­ti­ve in tri­al­ling new alter­na­ti­ve fuels has also pro­mo­ted enga­ge­ment with fuel pro­vi­ders, which has led to UECC’s latest initia­ti­ve tog­e­ther with bio­fuel sup­pli­er ACT Group as part of an indus­try col­la­bo­ra­ti­on to test the Cas­hew Nut Shell Liquid (CNSL)-based bio­fuel FS.100 that he belie­ves has “gre­at poten­ti­al for sus­tainable shipping”.

“Incre­asing the pool of sus­tainable drop-in fuels offers a pathway for ship­ping to achie­ve rapid emis­si­ons cuts on exis­ting ves­sels. Com­bi­ning alter­na­ti­ve fuels with ener­gy effi­ci­en­cy mea­su­res such as hull clea­ning and elec­tri­fi­ca­ti­on with shore power can fur­ther acce­le­ra­te decar­bo­ni­sa­ti­on,” Gent says.

“By pro­gres­si­ve­ly advan­cing the use of alter­na­ti­ve fuels, we are redu­cing emis­si­ons expo­sure for our cli­ents and secu­ring regu­la­to­ry com­pli­ance long into the future, while also pro­mo­ting indus­try efforts to reach the net-zero goal,” he concludes.

UECC’s multi-fuel LNG bat­tery hybrid pure car and truck car­ri­er Auto Advance


Quel­le & Kontakt:

Bjorn O. Gran Sven­ningsen, Direc­tor Sales & Mar­ke­ting, UECC 



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