Stena Line may be already one of the most successful ferry companies in the world but it has stolen another march on its competitors by tapping into the EU’s ‘Motorways of the Seas’ budget, this time for financial assistance to convert one of its ships sailing between Gothenburg and Kiel, Stena Germanica, to methanol fuel.
She will be the first in the world to run on methanol, powered by Wartsila with the project supported by the EU, the ports of Gothenburg and Kiel, and Methanex Corporation – world largest methanol producers from a Vancouver HQ with production sites in Canada, Chile, Egypt, New Zealand and Trinidad and Tobago and another building in Louisiana. She will be converted by Remontowa, Gdansk, at a cost of 22 mn Euro which should take six weeks. The engines will use gas oil as backup. Handling methanol is said to be simpler and cheaper than natural gas (LNG), it is biodegradable and can be produced from gas, coal, biomass and CO2 with greatly reduced emissions. Stena is also experimenting with other alternatives, such as LNG, electric propulsion, and exhaust/emission scrubbers.
It is interesting that Stena has chosen the Stena Germanica, Spanish built in 2001. In her life with her sister Stena Scandinavica, she has already had radical reconstruction to 44,237gt, renamed from Stena Hollandica when she served the Harwich – Hook route.
Yet another world first ferry has commenced service this time with the Norwegian consortium Norled delivered by Fjellstrand of Hardanger and entirely battery powered. Hence her nontraditional name Ampere. She has taken her place on a fjord crossing between Lavik and Oppedal in West Norway with a 120 car and 360 passenger capacity. Oil rich Norway is ideal to operate such a zero emission vessel as she can be charged up overnight from ashore by hydro-generated electricity. She won the Ship of the Year award at the Hamburg Maritime SMM Fair.
Norled has around 50 fjord vessels operating, and in October their Sjernarøy 1656,’99 did not score too well in the prestige stakes when she ran straight ashore on her shuttle service near Haugesund. Sometimes I think these runs are just too monotonous for ship and crew. I wish Ampere better luck.