Swedish shipping company Stena Line is accelerating its transition towards fossil-free shipping and has presented its roadmap to reduce total CO2 emissions by as much as 30 per cent by 2030.
Stena Line has identified four key areas that will enable it to achieve its ambitious carbon reduction target. The company aims to be completely fossil-free by 2050.
Electrification of shipping
Since 2018 the Stena Jutlandica battery hybrid has operated on the route between Gothenburg and Fredrikshamn. By 2030, the fossil-free ferry Stena Elektra will traverse the entire route on battery power only, a distance of 50 nautical miles.
Electrification of our port and terminals continued during 2020 and today 99.8 per cent renewable electricity is used within Stena Line. At 25 per cent of Stena Line’s terminals, the ships connect to green electricity during port calls, which in 2020 reduced Stena Line’s carbon dioxide emissions by more than 13,000 tons, equal to the annual emissions from 7,200 passenger cars.
Exploring alternative fuels
In 2015, Stena Line launched the world’s first ferry that can run on both diesel and methanol. The unique project at Stena Germanica on the line between Gothenburg and Kiel established methanol as ship fuel.
Methanol can be produced from natural gas, coal, biomass or CO2. Using methanol eliminates emissions of sulphur and particulate matter almost entirely and nitrogen by 60 per cent compared to traditional ship fuel.
Stena Line investigates several alternative fuels such as hydrogen, fuel cells and in 2021 a test is planned with methanol recovered from residual steel production gases.
In 2020, three new next generation E-Flexer ferries started operating on the Irish Sea. The ships are up to 30 per cent more energy efficient than previous vessels and are “gas ready”, prepared to be converted into gas, or methanol operation. In 2022, another two extended E-Flexers vessels will be delivered to Stena Line.
Over the past ten years, Stena Line has modernised the fleet through more than 360 small and large efficiency measures. These include actions such as changing bulbs, propellers and rudders, using IoT such as frequency-controlled ventilation on board and new environmentally friendly Selektope anti-fouling hull coatings.
Stena Line’s captains have received a new helper onboard – the AI assistant Stena Fuel Pilot, which supports them in operating the ship in the most efficient way. In 2020, Stena Fuel Pilot was installed on five ferries between Sweden and Germany and Sweden and Denmark. The plan is a fleet-wide rollout within two years.
Stena Fuel Pilot has the potential to reduce fuel consumption by up to 5 per cent per ship per ship and sailing, but further potential for AI support for reduced fuel consumption is being investigated.
“We are working hard to reduce our fuel consumption and emissions, while at the same time exploring tomorrow’s fuels and technologies. The main drivers behind the reduction of emission in 2020 are that we have introduced three new, and up to 30 per cent more energy-efficient vessels, on the Irish Sea. We have also introduced renewable shore electricity during port calls in Kiel and five more ships in the fleet have been equipped with the AI assistant Stena Fuel Pilot to support our captains in operating the vessels in the most energy-efficient way,” explained Erik Lewenhaupt, group head of sustainability at Stena Line.
“Our ambition is to lead the development towards fossil-free shipping and sustainable transportation by sea. This requires that we need to break our dependence on fossil fuels and start reducing our total emissions, not only become more efficient per sailing and transported unit. Therefore, Stena Line has now chosen to set the ambitious target to reduce our total carbon dioxide emissions by 30 per cent by 2030, because in the end they need be zero” said Stena Line’s CEO Niclas Mårtensson.
Despite a challenging year, Stena Line continued to reduce its total carbon dioxide emissions in 2020. Emissions also decreased per nautical mile sailed by -2.3 per cent/nm, which shows that the ships have become even more energy efficient in 2020.