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Smooth Scandinavian Sailing for Stena Ferry Battery Project

29th October 2018
Stena Jutlandica has completed its first month of operation as a battery hybrid vessel on the Gothenburg-Frederikshavn route. Stena Jutlandica has completed its first month of operation as a battery hybrid vessel on the Gothenburg-Frederikshavn route. Photo: Stena Line

#FerryNews - A Scandinavian ferry operating between Sweden and Denmark, the Stena Jutlandica has now completed its first month of operation as a battery hybrid vessel and the positive experiences from the first weeks of service have exceeded expectations.

“It's really exciting to be running with electrical power on the Stena Jutlandica. This project is an important part of our focused efforts to find ways of reducing our impact on the environment. As both the size and cost of batteries decrease, battery operation is becoming a very attractive alternative to traditional fuel for shipping as it should be possible to completely eliminate emissions in the future,” says Erik Lewenhaupt, Head of Sustainability at Stena Line.

The battery project is being carried out in steps. Step One, which is presently underway, is about switching to electrical operation to reduce the use of diesel generators, as well as for maneuvering and powering the bow thrusters when the ship is in port.

In Step Two, battery power will be connected to two of the four primary machines, which means that the Stena Jutlandica will be able to run on electrical power for about 10 nautical miles inside the archipelago out to Vinga Lighthouse (Gothenburg, Sweden).

During Step Three, all four primary machines will be connected to the batteries and the ship will be able to cover the 50 nautical miles between Sweden and Denmark solely on electrical power. A number of positive effects have already been noted after just one month.

“We've been able to significantly reduce our use of the diesel generators and now only need to use one instead of three. Another positive effect concerns safety. Having constant access to electricity, we minimize the risk for power outages”, says Johan Stranne, Senior Chief Engineer on the Stena Jutlandica.

In Step One alone, the environmental savings from using battery power for reduced generator usage and maneuvering in port amounts to approximately 500 tons of fuel saved and 1,500 tons of reduced CO2. This corresponds to the annual emissions from approximately 600 cars.

The rationale for execution in multiple steps is to enable testing and assessment while the project is underway. If the project is successful, battery power can be considered for other vessels within the Stena Line fleet. Work on Step Two has begun and the goal is for implementation within approximately three years.

The technical solutions in Step One have been developed by Stena Teknik in collaboration with the Callenberg Technology Group, with half of the funding for the project coming from the Swedish Transport Administration and the EU.

Published in Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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