Friday, November 21, 2014

Freight and Passenger Group Converts RoRo Ferry to Emission Reducing Methanol

99% Reduction in Sulphur Produced Claimed
Shipping News Feature

SWEDEN – EUROPE – The new Marpol regulations and rulings from the European Parliament regarding emissions from ships has prodded many companies into trying newer technologies and fuel types and now freight and passenger ferry group Stena Line is to convert the thirteen year old Stena Germanica to use methanol with a view to further vessel adaptations in the future.

Stena Line has decided to convert one of its ships sailing between Gothenburg and Kiel to methanol propulsion as a trial for future development. In early 2015 the 240 metre long ferry Stena Germanica will be the first ship in the world to run on methanol in a cooperative project with leading engine manufacturer Wärtsilä, the Port of Gothenburg, the Port of Kiel and the world’s largest methanol producer and supplier Methanex Corporation.

Wärtsilä has developed the new engine conversion kit and ship application in co-operation with Stena Teknik. The engine will be dual fuel using methanol as the vessels main fuel grade but with the ability to use MGO (Marine Gas Oil) as backup. Methanol is a clear, colourless biodegradable fuel that can be produced from natural gas, coal, biomass or even CO2. Methanol plays a key role in the energy sector as a clean and cost competitive alternative fuel and energy resource. By using methanol the emissions of sulphur (SOx) will be reduced about 99%, nitrogen (NOx) 60%, particles (PM) 95% and carbon dioxide (CO2) 25% compared with today’s fuel.

From early 2015, vessels in the area around the Baltic and North Sea, known as the SECA area, will have to use fuel with very low sulphur content of 0.1% (today the fuel restriction is 1%). Most common is MGO which will be about 40-50% higher in price compared to HFO (heavy fuel oil) which is being used today. In parallel with the change to low-sulphur oils, Stena Line is running a number of projects to look at other alternative fuels and different techniques for emission purification such as LNG, electric propulsion and scrubbers.

Methanol has the potential to be an important fuel for the shipping industry in the future. The emissions are similar to using LNG but the need for infrastructure is much less and handling is somewhat simpler. Since 2005 Stena Line has worked to reduce its environmental impact within its Energy Saving Programme, which has successfully reduced vessel energy consumption by on average 2.5% every year.

Stena Germanica will be converted at Remontova Shipyard in Poland starting January 2015, the process is expected to take six weeks and is financially supported by the EU ‘Motorways of the Seas’ initiative with a total project cost of about €22 million. Carl-Johan Hagman, CEO of Stena Line, commented:

"At Stena Line we are extremely proud of contributing to the development of our industry. Our focus has always been on innovation for the benefit of both customers and society at large and this is a prime example when this goes hand in hand. We are constantly evaluating different fuels for the future and to be first in the world with a methanol conversion is a big step towards sustainable transportation. The project has been possible thanks to the great teamwork and collaboration between our technical staff, Wärtsilä and Methanex.

"Due to our size we have a broad perspective on handling the new sulphur regulations and it is likely we will use some different types of solutions in the coming years. However, based on the results of the methanol project we are intending to convert additional ferries.

"It is a project that involved several companies in the Stena Sphere, which makes it very special for us. Stena Line, Stena Teknik, Stena Bulk, Stena RoRo and Stena Oil have all been involved with their respective areas of expertise. This internal collaboration made this possible. Naturally, adapting and converting Stena Lines fleet of some 40 ferries to the new regulations in the near future is a very tough task which will both take time, effort and money.”