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Stena Line launches the world’s first methanol ferry

Sustainable sea transports demand new solutions. Stena Line has chosen to focus on the alternative fuel, methanol, and now the world’s first methanol powered ferry, the Stena Germanica, has been launched, which operates on the route Kiel–Gothenburg.

On 26 March, the Stena Germanica re-entered service after a couple of months’ intermission. Now, as the world’s first methanol powered ferry. Stena Line is thus the first shipping company to operate with environmentally friendly methanol as the main fuel. On Friday the 27ththere was an inauguration ceremony in Kiel and today, Monday the 30thof March there was a ceremony in Gothenburg

"We are very enthusiastic about methanol’s possibilities and it has the potential to be the maritime fuel of the future. We want to pursue change and development in the shipping sector and, with the Stena Germanica, our environmental impact will be completely different to what the industry has seen before," Carl-Johan Hagman says.

Methanol is a biodegradable, environmentally friendly and cost efficient fuel that reduces the emissions of sulphur and particles by 99 percent. The ferry’s fuel system and engines have been adapted in the shipyard in a collaboration between Stena Line and Wärtsilä. The technology is called dual fuel – methanol is the main fuel, but there is the option to use MGO, Marine Gas Oil, as backup.

The conversion of the Stena Germanica was carried out in Gdansk, Poland, at the Remontova shipyard and it started up at the end of January and continued until the end of March. The project has received support from the EU’s Motorways of the Seas and has had a total cost 22 million euros.

The conversion has already attracted praise for the innovative new technology and the progress this means for the marine environment.

"I think Stena Line’s initiative in being the first in the world to use methanol as an alternative fuel is extremely pleasing. Together with the impressive efforts made in its Energy Saving Programme, ESP, over a number of years, this demonstrates a great commitment to sustainable development. This is showing shipping the way, both in Sweden and globally, for how to protect responsibly the environment and climate," the Swedish Maritime Administration’s Director General, Ann-Catrine Zetterdahl, says.

"Stena Line is steering a sustainable and particularly environmentally friendly course. We are proud that the route between Kiel and Gothenburg was chosen and that we are part of this outstanding pilot project," says Dr. Dirk Claus, managing director of Seehafen Kiel GmbH & Co KG.

On both events prominent guests were attending. In Kiel the owner of Stena, Dan Sten Olsson, held a ceremonial speech and so did also Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Reinhard Meyer, Schleswig -Holstein’s Minister for Enterprise and Work, Dr. Ulf Kämpfer, Kiel’s Mayor and Björn Ullbro from the Finnish engine manufacturer Wärtislä.

In Gothenburg ceremonial speeches were held by Stena Lines CEO Carl-Johan Hagman, Swedish Maritime Administration’s Director General, Ann-Catrine Zetterdahl, Her Excellency Dr. Lisa Emelia Svensson, Ambassador of Sweden for Oceans, Seas and Fresh Water and Pierpaolo Barbone from the Finnish engine manufacturer Wärtislä.

Facts about methanol
Methanol is a colourless liquid that can be produced from natural gas, coal, biomass or CO2. By using methanol, the emissions of sulphur (SOx) are reduced by roughly 99 percent, nitrogen (NOx) by 60 percent, particles (PM) by 95 percent and carbon dioxide (CO2) by 25 percent when compared to international bunker fuels. The emissions from methanol are roughly the same as for LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas), but are easier to process and do not place the same demands on infrastructure. Since 2005, Stena Line has worked to reduce its environmental impact by means of an energy-saving programme and it has succeeded in reducing the energy consumption of its ships by an average of 2.5 percent per year.

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