The world’s first methanol driven ferry inaugurated.

Stena Germanica, Stena Line’s ferry between Gothenburg and Kiel, is now the world’s first ferry with engines running on methanol since the inauguration March 30. The ship is also today the world’s third largest ferry.

- We were searching for the right fuel and thought that LNG didn’t meet our needs and the scrubber technology wasn’t that developed when we started out, Harry Robertsson, Technical Director at Stena Teknik, says.

The primary reason for the transition to methanol is spelled SECA since methanol contains no sulphur and the NOx emission from combustion is very low. Also methanol can be produced without using fossil resources.
- But in the long run, Robertsson says, we do this to have a secure fuel to our ships, since we sooner or later will run out of fossil fuel.

The transition to methanol is made in collaboration with the engine company Wärtsilä. The engines have been well tested in their factory in Italy before put on Stena Germanica.
- Methanol has a great potential, but in the future I believe there is going to be a mosaic of solutions. Methanol suits some while scrubbers, LNG and diesel suit others, Björn Ullbro, Director of Wärtsilä’s Baltic and Black Sea Service Unit says.

The new engines mean changes in the daily work for Joakim Wikström, chief engineer of Stena Germanica.

- The safety has become a greater issue with the use of methanol since it is very inflammable. We have a much more complex safety system because of this, but the engine room is much cleaner and we hope that the engines won’t need service quite as often as regular ones, Wikström says.

Karin Andersson, professor at the division of Maritime Environment and Energy Systems at Chalmers has long been researching the possibilities of methanol as a maritime fuel in for instance the EffShip project.
- It is very interesting that this is now up and running in a large scale. I have for long been involved in setting the criteria for what demands alternative fuels should meet and now they have reached far enough to run a large ferry on methanol. That is fantastic, Andersson says.

The challenge for the future, according to Andersson, is to produce the methanol from renewable resources in a sustainable way.