Virgin Voyages concludes first sustainable marine fuel trial

   November 1, 2023 ,   Cruise Industry

Virgin Voyages, Richard Branson's innovative travel brand, announced the successful completion of its inaugural trial with sustainable marine fuel.

This trial is a significant milestone in Virgin Voyages' sustainability program, driven by its mission to "Create an Epic Sea Change for All," and its unwavering commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Virgin Voyages is among the pioneering companies in the industry that have committed to testing sustainable marine fuels, including those derived from waste-based biofuels.

The trial took place on Virgin Voyages' vessel, Valiant Lady, based in Barcelona. The ship bunkered the sustainable fuel on September 24th and conducted testing and usage of the fuel until October 16th. Throughout the trial, the team meticulously examined the fuel's performance during bunkering, storage, and burning, ensuring it met both laboratory requirements and operational expectations.

The fuel used in the trial was a blend of 20% used cooking oil, which met the global ISCC certification, and 80% conventional heavy fuel oil. This deliberate choice is due to heavy fuel oil being the primary fuel consumed by maritime vessels.

Virgin Voyages has made a pledge to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and remains committed to its sea change initiative. This commitment includes championing ocean health, promoting sustainable practices among its passengers (referred to as Sailors), and advocating for responsible tourism in the 100+ ports of call visited by the brand. The company has eliminated unnecessary single-use plastics across its fleet, prioritizes sustainably sourced goods and food products, and actively engages in social impact initiatives. An example of this is the "Sea Change Fund" on board, which supports mangrove reforestation in the Caribbean.

In preparation for the FuelEU Maritime regulation set to begin in 2025, which requires the industry to use more sustainable fuels for a portion of its fuel demand, Virgin Voyages is exploring how sustainable fuel adoption can accelerate its decarbonization strategy in the near term. The company will continue to advocate for robust sustainability standards for waste-based biofuels, such as those recognized by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB).