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Finnish Marine Tech Firm Wärtsilä to Power Belfast’s NewMax Methanol Ferries

25th September 2023
Artist’s impression of the Stena NewMax methanol-fuelled RoRo ferry
Artist’s impression of the Stena NewMax methanol-fuelled RoRo ferry, two of which have been commissioned by Stena for the Belfast-Heysham route

Finnish marine tech firm Wärtsilä has been contracted to power what are being touted as the world’s first methanol-fuelled hybrid RoRo vessels currently being built for service across the Irish Sea.

The company will supply an integrated hybrid propulsion system for two new hybrid RoRo vessels being built in China for Stena RoRo. As previously reported on, these NewMax ferries will service the company’s expanding Belfast-Heysham freight route.

Each vessel will be equipped with two Wärtsilä 32M multi-fuel engines capable now of operating on methanol fuel. Wärtsilä will also supply the methanol engine auxiliary equipment, the gearboxes, two controllable pitch propellers (CPP), three bow thrusters, the NACOS navigation system, three Wärtsilä 20 auxiliary engines and the hybrid electric system consisting of shore power, batteries, shaft generators, converters, transformers as well as the energy management system making it all work together.

Each vessel will also benefit from the Wärtsilä ‘Hybrid Solution’, optimising the fuel consumption today and allowing for future full green operation. The vessels will also be equipped with Wärtsilä’s shore-power solution enabling carbon-free operations when the vessels are in port.

Wärtsilä will supply an integrated hybrid propulsion system for the two new hybrid RoRo vessels | Credit: Wärtsilä CorporationWärtsilä will supply an integrated hybrid propulsion system for the two new hybrid RoRo vessels | Credit: Wärtsilä Corporation

“These vessels are a further development of our previous cargo ship concepts where the focus on sustainability and future-proofing with multi-fuel combustion engines are prioritised,” says Per Westling, managing director of Stena RoRo. “With the help of Wärtsilä’s advanced technology, we intend to have the greenest Ro-Ro vessels on the market.”

Roger Holm, president of Wärtsilä’s marine power business added: “We are proud to be supporting these innovative hybrid vessels with our methanol-fuelled engines and electrification systems. Both Stena RoRo and Wärtsilä share the same commitment to decarbonising shipping operations, and these vessels represent a further step in this direction by being the first methanol hybrid ships in their class. Not only will the emissions be minimised, but they will also have the most efficient energy utilisation during operations.”

The 147m-long ships will have 2,800 lane metre capacity and will be able to accommodate a total of 37 passengers and crew. They are scheduled for delivery in June and November 2025. The Wärtsilä equipment will be delivered to the yard in 2024. Team

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About Stena Line

Stena Line is one of Europe's leading ferry companies with 37 vessels and 17 routes in Northern Europe operating 25,000 sailings each year. Stena Line is an important part of the European logistics network and develops new intermodal freight solutions by combining transport by rail, road and sea. Stena Line also plays an important role for tourism in Europe with its extensive passenger operations. The company is family-owned, was founded in 1962 and is headquartered in Gothenburg. Stena Line has 4,300 employees and an annual turnover of 14 billion SEK.