Luxury yacht owners to consider green fuel options as regulations tighten


The superyacht Wider 165 has been fitted with a new electric power management system.

Luxury yacht owners and operators will increasingly consider green fuel options as global environmental regulations tighten according to renewable diesel manufacturer Neste, which plans to introduce a new low-sulphur marine fuel later this year.

“The whole shipping industry is undergoing a transformation to become cleaner,” a Neste spokeswoman told Superyacht Investor.

From January 1, 2020, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will enforce a 0.5% global sulphur cap on fuel content for areas currently with a 3.5% limit. In these areas, all vessels will be required to use fuel with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5%, unless they use exhaust gas cleaning systems. In 2015 the organisation introduced Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECA), where a maximum sulphur cap of 0.1 percent in marine fuels was introduced.

‘More interest towards CO2 reductions’

“I think that this is just the beginning,” said the spokeswoman. “I can see more and more interest towards carbon dioxide emission [CO2] reductions. For luxury yachts one of solutions existing today could be use of biofuels, such as Neste MY renewable diesel, produced from waste and residue. This can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 90%.”

Neste said its new IMO2020-compliant marine fuel, Neste Marine 0.5, will help vessel operators respond to the ever-tightening regulations on CO2 emissions. “By choosing Neste’s low-sulphur fuel, shipping companies will have a solution, which is easy to switch to, and guarantees immediate compliance with the global sulphur cap,” said the company.

The company’s executive vice president of oil products, Marko Pekkola, added: “Neste has always been in the forefront of developing cleaner and more sustainable solutions. This is also the key driver within our marine fuels business. Neste Marine 0.5 meets the stricter legislative requirements for maritime sulphur emissions, enabling smooth operations.”

‘Global sulphur cap’

The spokeswoman acknowledged that the new fuel may have limited applications in the superyacht sector, as many such vessels run on Marine gasoil (MGO), rather than the heavy bunker oil, such as Neste Marine 0.5, typically used to power ships.

Meanwhile, efforts have intensified over recent years to help marine craft comply with increasingly stringent environmental legislation. Millions of dollars. Euros and pounds have been invested in developing technologies – such as catalytic reducers and exhaust scrubbers – alternative fuels – including biofuel, hydrogen gas, hydrogen fuel cells and liquefied natural gas (LNG) – – and alternative propulsion systems such hybrid electric power and solar power.

Recent developments include Japanese electric motor manufacturer Nidec installing a new electric power-management system on the superyacht Wider 165 and last month’s Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge. That contest aims to help the “industry’s engineers, boatyards, students and owners in their bid to meet the energy and environmental challenges facing the nautical sector”, according to one of its organisers the Yacht Club de Monaco.