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As London continues to move towards a carbon-neutral future, a recent collaborative effort between GPS Marine and Green Biofuels will bring the Dispenser, a new floating biofuel station, to the Thames.
Air Pollution in London
Like many other major cities worldwide, air pollution has remained one of the biggest environmental risks to the people living in London. Most urban areas throughout the United Kingdom have also had high levels of ambient nitrogen dioxide (NO2) that exceed the legal limit. Both acute and chronic inhalation of air pollution can cause significant damage to almost every organ in the body. Furthermore, air pollution can contribute to worsening infection and death rates following infection by the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
In addition to NO2, the ambient levels of several other pollutants are regulated by UK Air Quality Standards, some of which include sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and carbon dioxide (CO2).
In terms of CO2 emissions, London has exhibited a gradual decline over the past several years, with a 37% reduction reported between the peak levels in 2000 and those released at the end of 2018. However, London released an estimated 32.4 million tons of CO2, which indicates that more work must be done to reduce this major city’s carbon emission levels.
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Biodiesel and the Environment
As compared to petroleum diesel fuel, which is the refined form of crude oil, biodiesel instead often originates from plant sources that are used to make feedstocks, such as soybeans and palm oil trees.
As these plants grow, they absorb CO2 and offset the amount of CO2 that is produced during the production and burning of biodiesel. Furthermore, as compared to standard diesel fuel, a B20 biodiesel blend, which is 20% biodiesel, is associated with a 10-15% reduction in CO2 emissions.
In 2015, the Mayor of London announced an ambitious plan to expand London’s biodiesel infrastructure to allow used cooking oil, fats, oils and greases to be converted into biodiesel. Companies such as bio-bean have even allowed the city of London to convert waste coffee grounds to biofuel that has since powered many of the different buses that travel throughout London every day.
London’s New Green Floating Fuel Station
The successful incorporation of biofuel into London’s public transportation system has supported the city’s first green floating fuel station. This project has been made possible by the partnership between GPS Marine, which is the largest commercial operator of vessels on the Thames, and Green Biofuels, which is a leading provider of GREEND+ and GREEND45 biofuels throughout the United Kingdom.
London’s new green floating fuel station is expected to be a leading provider of biofuel throughout the UK. Moreover, this revolutionary project is expected to improve local air quality and reduce London’s CO2 emission levels while simultaneously supporting the clean-up of the Thames river.
The Dispenser and GREEND+
GPS Marine and Green Biofuels installed the ‘Dispenser’ into the Thames during mid-March of 2021. The Dispenser is a fuel bunker barge that will refuel the tug that delivers tunnel lining ring segments for the Thames Tideway Central Section, as well as for other commercial vessels residing on and around the Thames.
GREEND+ HVO is a type of biofuel that has been developed by Green Biofuels. This renewable paraffinic substitute for traditional diesel fuel has been shown to significantly reduce Total Particular Matter (TPM), NOx, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions without requiring any modifications to be made to the original diesel engine. More specifically, GREEND+ has been found to reduce TPM by 85% and NOx levels by up to 30%.
Some additional benefits associated with the use of GREEND+ include an odorless scent, reduced maintenance of engines due to the lack of contamination present in engine oils, eliminated smoke generation upon start up, and cold plugging points that are up to -42%.
The use of GREEND+ has also demonstrated its utility in preventing performance deterioration of engines that normally arises in the presence of normal fuel operating environments.
GREEND+ has already been successfully used in 2020 by both GPS Marine and Green Biofuels to power the Thames Tideway Tug pulling barges to the new ‘Super Sewer,’ which has been referred to as one of London’s largest construction projects. GPS Marine has pledged to power their entire Thames-based fleet of 12 tugs, in addition to their barges and multi-purpose vessels, with GREEND+. As these vessels are the largest on the Thames, this announcement will further contribute to the reduction in CO2 emissions in London over time.
The Dispenser has been granted permission to load GREEND+ directly from the terminal to the river. In doing so, the dependence for on-road delivery tankers is eliminated, further reducing the potential CO2 emissions that will be emitted by this fuel station. GPS Marine and Green Biofuels anticipate that this joint project will help reduce London’s carbon emissions by 3,861 tons of CO2 each year.
References and Further Reading
‘Dramatic’ plunge in London air pollution since 2016, report finds [Online] Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/oct/03/dramatic-plunge-in-london-air-pollution-since-2016-report-finds.
London Energy and Greenhouse Gas Inventory (LEGGI) [Online] Available from: https://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/leggi.
Biofuels explained [Online] Available from: https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/biofuels/biodiesel-and-the-environment.php.
Coffee biofuel powering London buses [Online] Available from: https://biofuels-news.com/news/coffee-biofuel-powering-london-buses/.
The Mayor’s Biodiesel Programme [Online] Available from: https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/gla_-_biodiesel_operational_note_june_2015_0.pdf.
River Thames to slash carbon footprint thanks to a new green floating fuel station [Online] Available from: https://www.pollutionsolutions-online.com/news/air-clean-up/16/green-biofuels/river-thames-to-slash-carbon-footprint-thanks-to-a-new-green-floating-fuel-station/54662.
Biodiesel fuel station on Thames to help cut river pollution [Online] Available from: https://biofuels-news.com/news/biodiesel-fuel-station-on-thames-to-help-cut-river-pollution/.
Fuels [Online] Available from: https://www.gbf.ltd/fuels.