Biofuel goes to sea with Volvo Penta

Up to now the use of biofuel at sea has been a problem. However now Neste Oil is launching its second generation of biofuel, with considerably improved features. Volvo Penta is participating in its evaluation, and has a very positive view of this fuel’s future.

NExBTL (Next Generation Biomass to Liquid) is a product that has been developed by the Finnish company Neste Oil. It is a new bio-based diesel fuel with quality and performance equivalent to, and even better than, traditional fossil diesel fuel. It will be possible to use this fuel in all diesel engines, in just the same way as the usual diesel, without any need for engine conversion.

The problems with today’s biodiesel (the first generation) is that engines need some conversion, and that the fuel has a limited stability (life). Leisure boats do not run for as many hours, as e.g. cars or trucks, and there is a high risk of the fuel simply oxidising in the tank. This can lead to the boat owner being forced to overhaul the entire fuel system. Volvo Penta therefore advises its customers against using biodiesel as a fuel in their boat engines.

Field testing in Stockholm
However the development of alternative fuels is presently advancing rapidly and Volvo Penta has now joined forces with Finnish Neste Oil in respect of NExBTL.

As part of a larger planned EU project NExBTL will be field tested in two Waxholm company’s passenger boats in Stockholm, and these boats are equipped with Volvo Penta diesel engines. Volvo Penta engineers will follow up the tests, i.e. study the emissions while investigating how the engines are affected by the fuel. The project is planned to start in the autumn and will continue for three years.
Available for consumers
Production at Neste Oil is starting now, and by the autumn they will be in full production.
In order to make the fuel available to boat owners, it will be necessary for one of the major oil companies to include it in its ordinary range at its pumps. This initiative has already been taken. During the year Swedish OK/Q8 will launch a diesel fuel with a 20% content of NExBTL.

More manufacturers than Neste Oil will also produce second generation biofuel, which means that it will become available in considerable quantities within the next few years – either as its own product or blended with normal fossil diesel fuel.

Jennifer Humphrey  
Global Communication Manager
+46 31 323305
Email: jennifer [dot] humphrey [at] volvo [dot] com