Stena announces electric ship plans as part of new Swedish Transzero initiative with Volvo Group, Scania and Port of Gothenburg
At some point in the next nine years Stena Line will put a fossil fuel free electric ro-pax vessel into service. To do that it will need to place the order by 2025 according to its boss. So it has four years to get the design right and make sure the technology it chooses to put on board is the right one for the vessel’s launch, and the right one for the subsequent 20 years or so of its operational life.
The company actually said there would be two vessels, under the name Stena Elektra that will sail from Göteborg to the Danish Port of Frederikshavn. It is the kind of future technology and fuel choice nearly all shipowners are going to make sooner or later.
Stena Line CEO Niclas Mårtensson spoke about the decision to go for electric ferries in a Swedish press webinar launching a new partnership with the Port of Gothenburg, and the truck makers Scania and Volvo Group.
Under the Transzero initiative the four organisations are building up a zero emission freight corridor in and out of the West of Sweden port. The aim is to cut emissions by 70% by 2030 in the port.
Mårtensson said Stena Elektra will be the world’s first fossil free RoPax vessel of its size – the planned dimensions are 200 m in length with a 3,000 m lane meter ro-ro freight capacity and room for 1,000 passengers.
It will run on battery power for the 50 nautical mile trip across the Kattegat waters between Denmark and Sweden.
Mårtensson did add a caveat that the vessel may have to be built with options for fuel cells and some form of hybrid fuel possibly hydrogen or a biofuel, depending on the technology developments and the desire to extend the reach of the vessel (which may then make it more flexible for operation on other company routes).
Stena already has batteries on one of the vessels operating on the Göteborg to Denmark route. The Stena Jutlandia has been using batteries for certain operations since 2018, although these do not have the capacity for a full voyage. In September last year the company announced it was developing shore based energy storage systems to recharge vessels (it said the plan is to use recycled batteries).
The company has also been running Stena Germanica on methanol following the conversion of its engines, and has been one of the first to utilise cold ironing (or shore based power) in is home port of Gothenburg.