Stena Line

Maritime classification society Lloyd’s Register (LR) is set to class Sweden-based ferry company Stena Line’s, Stena Germanica, which is claimed to be world’s first methanol-powered sea vessel.

For the conversion of its 240m-long, 1,500-passenger Stena Germanica vessel to methanol propulsion, Stena has collaborated with Wärtsilä, the Port of Gothenburg, the Port of Kiel and Methanex Corporation, the world’s largest methanol producer and supplier.

Five LR surveying teams from offices in Copenhagen, Trieste, Gotheburg, Venice and Southampton, have already overseen preliminary tests on a methanol-modified Wartsila engine 6ZAL40S that is similar to the one to be fitted on Germanica.

LR Trieste-based lead specialist Roberto Costantino said: "We carried out three days of tests on a modified engine at Wartsila’s reasearch and development laboratory so as to understand the engine performance when running with methanol.

"While the test engine is a similar type to the four engines on the vessel, it has fewer cylinders. So the builders are converting the existing ones on the ship."

"The emissions from methanol are comparable to LNG, but the requirements for handling and infrastructure are much lower."

The new engine conversion kit and ship application for the conversion process is developed by Wärtsilä in collaboration with Stena Teknik. The engine will be able to use methanol as the main fuel grade and marine gas oil (MGO) as a back-up.

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The €22m fuel conversion will take place at Remontova Shipyard in Poland from 28 January over a 45-day period. The vessel is expected to re-start operations in early 2015.

Stena Line CEO Carl-Johan Hagman said: "The emissions from methanol are comparable to LNG, but the requirements for handling and infrastructure are much lower.

"The construction team are looking at and will use several different exhaust gas treatment technologies and if the methanol project is a success we will convert more vessels."

Compared with existing fuels, the use of methanol will help reduce the emissions of sulphur (99%), nitrogen (60%), particles (95%) and carbon dioxide (25%).

Image: LR to class Stena Line’s methanol-powered sea vessel. Photo: courtesy of Lloyd’s Register Group Services Limited.