Friday, March 2, 2018

Major European RoRo Ferry and Logistics Group Plan for a Fleet of Electric Vessels

First Stage Testing Begins as We Move Toward a Cleaner Future for Shipping
Shipping News Feature

SWEDEN – DENMARK – In a project co-funded by the European Union and Swedish transport interests, RoRo ferry and logistics outfit Stena Line is moving to the next stage of its quest to test new environmentally friendly energy types for the propulsion of vessels. Recently a contract was signed with Callenberg Technology Group for batteries with a capacity of 1 MWh which will be installed on the Stena Jutlandica which operates between Gothenburg and Frederikshavn and, before the summer, battery power in port operation will become a reality.

The ultimate aim of this project is to enable the vessel to navigate a voyage of a full 50 nautical miles (the distance between the two ports). This initial step is to switch on the new batteries for the bow thrusters and use whilst manoeuvring when berthing in port. In step two, an extended battery operation is connected to the propellers, meaning that Stena Jutlandica can be operated on electricity within around 10 nautical miles, equal to the distance between Göteborg and Vinga Lighthouse.

The third and final stage will see battery capacity further expanded and produce a vessel which can operate about 50 nautical miles purely using electricity, enabling it to connect the Danish and Swedish ports. Stena Line's CEO Niclas Mårtensson explained his company’s interest in a greener future for shipping, saying:

"Sustainability is very high on our agenda and we are constantly evaluating new ways to reduce our impact on the environment. From 2015, for example, methanol is part of the fuel mix on Stena Germanica, which operates between Gothenburg and Kiel, and we also run around 300 different energy saving projects. As both the size and cost of batteries decrease, battery operation becomes a very exciting alternative to traditional fuels for shipping, as emissions to air can be completely eliminated.”

The reason for a graduated approach to the Stena Jutlandica project is simply the developing technology which needs to be tested and assessed at every stage. Gathering this knowledge about the exact way that electricity performs in such a real world situation can then hopefully enable the extension of electric power to the entire Stena fleet of some 38 vessels.

The technical solutions are being developed together with Stena Teknik, which cooperates with the academic world, authorities and various suppliers. The project has been received very positively, and the first phase is supported and financed by half by the Swedish Maritime Administration and the EU. The technology tested is based on plug-in hybrid technology. The batteries are charged when the ship is connected to shore power, which is also an important focus area on clean energy, but can also be charged while operating the ship's generators. The different steps of the project are:

  1. Battery power on bow thrusters and manoeuvring when berthing in port - Optimises power usage during operation (Peak Shaving) - Battery capacity 1 MWh
  2. Battery operation in port and in the archipelago up to around 10 nautical miles - Battery capacity about 20 MWh
  3. Full battery power up to about 50 nautical miles