French cruise line Ponant will start a trial run of B100 biofuel, produced from recycled cooking oil, on Le Champlain. It is one of its six Explorers series vessels.

Ponant is the first French cruise line to test the new type of biofuel. It will be supplied by Altens, a French supplier of alternative non-fossil fuels for the transport sector.

“This first marine biofuel test is part of our roadmap as their carbon footprint is infinitely lower than conventional fuels, with a 90 per cent reduction of CO2 emissions,” says Mathieu Petiteau, Newbuilding and R&D Director at Ponant. 

“They are produced from used cooking oils, can be incorporated directly into engines and are available now. We want to help demonstrate that it is a credible alternative that can contribute to decarbonising Ponant’s fleet. And this includes the entire maritime industry. 

“These tests will help fine tune technical parameters and the different emissions and composition of gas associated with using this type of biofuel.” 

Le Champlain is fitted with Wartsila diesel engines and B100 is totally compatible as a drop-in fuel to meet targets. With CO2 emissions 90 per cent lower than fossil fuels, it exceeds European requirements for 2035. 

The first bunkering of the Ponant biofuel trial will be accompanied by a series of tests. They will ensure nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions remain compliant. Sulfur oxide (SOx), particulates and black carbon emissions will also be measured.

European Union standards

The whole B100 biofuel production sector is certified by International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC). It is an international standard recognised by the European Union and which also guarantees traceability of raw materials.

Ponant plans to roll out B100 to the rest of its fleet, subject to supply, once the trial is completed.

“We are extremely proud to see these sustainability initiatives continuing to be trialled by Ponant,” said Deb Corbett, General Manager Sales & Marketing for Asia Pacific. 

“It reinforces our vision for a more sustainable future and our status as pioneers of new forms of tourism, starting with the operations of our fleet, a core pillar of our global ambitions.”

Hurtigruten has also trialled use of biofuel and MSC Cruises has been using blended biofuel on some of its vessels.

Ponant Le Champlain.
The biofuel will be tested on Ponant’s Le Champlain.