Stena Germanica runs on recycled methanol

The Swedish ferry company Stena Line has powered its RoPax ferry Stena Germanica with methanol recycled from residual steel gases, claiming another world first.

The ferry traveled from Sweden to Germany this week using fuel dubbed ‘Blue Methanol’. The fuel is recycled from residual steel gases, a by-product of the steel production industry, and helps reduce the ferry’s reliance on diesel, thus lowering the vessel’s carbon emissions.

The 240-metre vessel, with a capacity for 1,500 passengers and 300 cars, was converted to run on a dual-fuel system using methanol and diesel in 2015. The ferry was retrofitted with a fuel-flexible Wärtsilä 4-stroke engine.

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Stena Germanica is the world’s first methanol powered RoPax (passenger and freight) ferry, which operates on the Gothenburg – Kiel route.

The vessel was developed in cooperation with Methanex, Wärtsilä and EU’s Motorways of the Seas project.

It is exciting to be part of our sustainable journey and try out another new sustainable fuel. I can confirm that we sailed with the new fuel from Gothenburg to Kiel on June 22 and it worked very well,” says Peter Holm, Chief Engineer Stena Germanica.

While methanol is a fossil fuel, it is much cleaner than traditional marine fuel, emitting 90% less sulphur and particulates and 60% less nitrogen.

The steel industry and the maritime sector are two of the world’s biggest emitters of CO2, accounting for 6-8% and 2.5% of all CO2 emissions respectively.

The FReSMe project, funded by H2020 EU program, aims to demonstrate the whole process that enables the CO2 captured from the steel industry to produce methanol fuel that will be used as fuel in the ship transportation sector.

“This collaboration between the steel and the maritime sectors is the first of its kind and demonstrates that by working together companies from different backgrounds can greatly improve their effect on the climate. For Stena Line this is another successful proof of concept for our methanol conversion ferry and a further bridge towards our aim of fossil free shipping,” says Erik Lewenhaupt, Head of Sustainability Stena Line Group.

Methanex Corporation, through a wholly-owned subsidiary, Waterfront Shipping, operates the world’s largest methanol ocean tanker fleet with eleven vessels.