Jan De Nul to switch dredging vessels to 100% renewable fuel

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Belgium’s Jan De Nul Group has announced that it is considering switching its dredging vessels to 100% biofuel, following a successful trial last year.

Since the end of 2019, the company’s first trailing suction hopper dredger has been operating in Zeebrugge, Belgium on biofuel – a certified sustainable substitute for fossil fuels that is made for waste feedstocks.

Following the success of this trial, Jan De Nul is proposing rolling out renewable fuel across the rest of its dredging vessel fleet.

“Such renewable fuel offers the huge advantage that engines must not be adapted so that the fuel can be used immediately,” explained Michel Deruyck, head of energy at Jan De Nul. “As this solution makes use of biological waste flows as raw material, it is also beneficial to the circular economy. 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."

The company added that its newest trailing suction hopper dredger, the Sanderus, has recently arrived in Belgium to carry out maintenance dredging works in coastal ports. The dredger is Jan De Nul’s fourth ultra-low emission vessel launched in the last year, featuring a two-stage catalytic filter system on board.

Its ultra-low emission vessels are equipped with a catalyst that renders nitrogen oxides harmless, as well as with a soot filter blocking fine particles. The post-treatment of these pollutants is helping to ensure a reduction of greenhouse gases.

“In a business-as-usual scenario, air pollution would be responsible for 8.8 million deaths a year, worldwide,” explained Mieke Fordeyn, director of Jan De Nul’s international division. “That is twice as many as what was assumed so far. Also shipping has a partial responsibility in this area. And even if the dredging industry accounts for only 0.1% of the total emission of global shipping traffic, we feel personally involved in this issue and regard it as one of our core missions to do something about it.”