The world’s first methanol-powered sea vessel is to resume operations after the fire risk assessment by Sweden’s SP Fire Research was approved.
Operated by Stena Line, the Ro-pax ferry Stena Germanica will now use methanol propulsion, complying with stricter regulations for minimising emissions.
Stena Germanica will sail the route from Kiel in Germany to Gothenburg in Sweden, across the Baltic Sea.
Compared with existing fuels, switching to methanol will help reduce the emissions of sulphur (99%), nitrogen (60%), particles (95%) and carbon dioxide (25%). It will also provide simpler transportation and storage, as the fuel is liquid at room temperature.
SP Technical Research Institute fire researcher Franz Evegren said: "Another great benefit is that methanol may be produced from biomass, which opens up for the possibility to run on a renewable fuel in the future.
"Therefore Stena chose methanol for the Stena Germanica when it came to complying with the new regulations."
Swedish Flag approved the new fire safety design of the Stena Germanica in January. The fire risk assessment was based on SOLAS regulation 17 ‘Alternative design and arrangements’.
"The findings in this project and planed future research will facilitate for safer conversions to alternative and more environmentally friendly ship fuels," Evegren added.
For the conversion project, Stena Line collaborated with Wärtsilä, the Port of Gothenburg, the Port of Kiel and Methanex Corporation.
The €22m fuel conversion was carried out by Remontova Shipyard in Poland, and classification society Lloyd’s Register and ship designer ScandiNaos were also involved in the project.
Image: Stena Germanica converts to methanol power. Photo: courtesy of SP Fire Research.