Stena Line drastically reduces emissions with the world’s first methanol ship

One of the world’s biggest ferry companies, Stena Line, becomes the first operator in the world to run a large 1 500 passenger ferry on methanol, drastically reducing emissions compared to today’s standard fuel.

Stena Line has decided to convert one of its ships sailing between Gothenburg and Kiel to methanol propulsion. The 240 meter long ferry Stena Germanica will be the first ship in the world to run on methanol in early 2015. The project is done in co-operation with the leading engine manufacturer Wärtsilä, the port of Gothenburg, the port of Kiel and the world’s largest methanol producer and supplier Methanex Corporation.

Stena Germanica will be converted at Remontova Shipyard in Poland starting January 2015, the process is expected to take six weeks and is financially supported by the EU “Motorways of the Seas” initiative. Total project cost is about Euro 22 million.

"At Stena Line we are extremely proud of contributing to the development of our industry. Our focus has always been on innovation for the benefit of both customers and society at large and this is a prime example when this goes hand in hand. We are constantly evaluating different fuels for the future and to be first in the world with a methanol conversion is a big step towards sustainable transportation. The project has been possible thanks to the great teamwork and collaboration between our technical staff, Wärtsilä and Methanex”, says Carl-Johan Hagman, CEO of Stena Line.

Wärtsilä has developed the new engine conversion kit and ship application in co-operation with Stena Teknik. The engine will be dual fuel using methanol as the vessels main fuel grade but with the ability to use MGO (Marine Gas Oil) as backup.

Methanol is a clear, colorless biodegradable fuel that can be produced from natural gas, coal, “biomass” or even CO2. Methanol plays a key role in the energy sector as a clean and cost competitive alternative fuel and energy resource. By using methanol the emissions of sulphur (SOx) will be reduced about 99%, nitrogen (NOx) 60%, particles (PM) 95% and carbon dioxide (CO2) 25% compared with today’s fuel.

From early 2015, vessels in the area around the Baltic and North Sea, known as the SECA area, will have to use fuel with very low sulphur content of 0.1% (today the fuel restriction is 1.0%). Most common is MGO which will be about 40-50% higher in price compared to HFO (heavy fuel oil) which is being used today. In parallel with the change to low-sulphur oils, Stena Line is running a number of projects to look at other alternative fuels and different techniques for emission purification such as LNG, electric propulsion and scrubbers.

"Due to our size we have a broad perspective on handling the new sulphur regulations and it is likely we will use some different types of solutions in the coming years. However, based on the results of the methanol project we are intending to convert additional ferries, says Stena Line CEO Carl-Johan Hagman.

Methanol has the potential to be an important fuel for the shipping industry in the future.  The emissions are similar to using LNG but the need for infrastructure is much less and handling is simpler. Since 2005 Stena Line has worked to reduce its environmental impact within its Energy Saving Programme, which has successfully reduced vessel energy consumption by on average 2,5 % every year.

"It is a project that involved several companies in the Stena Sphere, which makes it very special for us. Stena Line, Stena Teknik, Stena Bulk, Stena RoRo and Stena Oil have all been involved with their respective areas of expertise. This internal collaboration made this possible. Naturally, adapting and converting Stena Lines fleet of some 40 ferries to the new regulations in the near future is a very tough task which will both take time, effort and money", says Carl-Johan Hagman.

Stena Germanica

LOA: 240 meter       Built: 2001

Cars:300                 Passengers:1 500

Lanemeters: 4 000  Engine: Wärtsilä 8ZAL 40S MD with 32 000 horsepower

For more information, contact

Jesper Waltersson, Head of Communications Stena Line

Tel. +46 (0) 31 85 85 32 or +46 (0) 704 85 85 32.

Erik Lewenhaupt, Head of External Communication, Stena AB

Tel +46 (0) 31 855 188 or +46 (0) 704 855 188 

Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECAs) or Emission Control Areas (ECAs) are sea areas in which stricter controls were established in IMO to minimize airborne emissions (SOx, NOx, ODS, VOC) from ships as defined by Annex VI of the 1997 MARPOL Protocol which came into effect in May 2005. The new Sulphur regulation which comes into force on 1 January 2015 requires that ships must use bunker fuels with sulphur content below 0.1%, or use cleaning techniques to comply with the sulphur cap. The European SECA includes the English Channel, North Sea and the Baltic Sea.

Stena Line is one of the world’s largest operators of ferries, RoPax and RoRo tonnage. The company operates about 40 vessels on 23 routes within Northern Europe. Stena Line is developing new intermodal freight solutions by combining train, road and sea transportation and is a large part of the European logistics network. The company was founded in 1939, is family owned and headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden. Stena Line is part of the Stena Sphere with around 20,500 employees and a turnover of 8 billion USD.

About Us

Stena Line is one of Europe's leading ferry companies with 38 vessels and 20 routes in Northern Europe. Stena Line is an important part of the European logistics network and develops new intermodal freight solutions by combining transport by rail, road and sea. Stena Line also plays an important role for tourism in Europe with its extensive passenger operations. The company is family-owned, was founded in 1962 and is headquartered in Gothenburg. Stena Line is part of the Stena AB Group, which has about 15 000 employees and an annual turnover of around 36 billion SEK.