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Bio-oil a strong alternative also in low-sulphur maritime transport


The sulphur directive discussion in Finland has been dotted with threats and has focused strongly on rising costs. Fortunately, other views also have started to emerge – with change comes also opportunity.

It has been estimated that a shift to low-sulphur fuel will significantly raise Finnish export costs. According to a 2012 study, the higher costs resulting from the increased fuel price would be about 400 million euros per year, calculated at current prices. However, these figures do not take into consideration the use of alternative technology or new kinds of biofuel solutions, for example.

”Against this backdrop, it is quite gratifying that the sulphur regulation adaptation working group established by the Ministry on Employment and the Economy has recognized the potential of bio-oil, i.e. pyrolysis oil (RFO), as fuel for ships,” says Timo Saarelainen, CEO,  Green Fuel Nordic Oy.

The working group’s task is to prepare a national action plan to compensate for the negative impacts of the EU’s Sulphur Directive on Finland’s competitiveness and trade and industry. The report was delivered to the Minister of Economic Affairs on February 28, 2013.

At the initiative of the National Emergency Supply Agency, a consortium is now being formed. Within the framework of the project being established, ship engine testing with pyrolysis oil will be conducted in a laboratory setting and in real-life conditions. The consortium is comprised of businesses and players from the entire fuel value chain. The goal is to commercialize the fuel for maritime transport needs.

”The fuel consumption of the ships sailing the Baltic Sea and visiting Finnish ports is the equivalent of the bio-oil production capacity of several biorefineries. I believe that the use of bio-oil as ship fuel will offer a sustainable solution for reducing sulphur emissions,” notes Saarelainen.

Additional information

CEO Timo Saarelainen
tel. +358 40 7076640


Green Fuel Nordic Oy is a Finnish biorefining company. The company’s business idea is to utilize commercially proven RTP™ technology for the production of second-generation bio-oil from local, renewable, forest-based biomass. The off-take is a liquid, low-carbon and sulfur-free bio-oil that can directly replace light and heavy fuel oil in renewable energy applications. In the upcoming years, Green Fuel Nordic Oy aims to build several biorefineries in Finland. The company, established in October 2011, is headquartered in Kuopio,

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