Baleària, a Spanish ferry operator that transports passengers and cargo between the four Balearic Islands and mainland Spain, as well as providing daily sailings between them, is leading an innovative project that will re-motorise some high-speed vessels so they can use Liquefied natural gas (LNG) instead of diesel.
The initiative is part of an energy shift in response to the shipping company’s environmental commitment and adaptation to future standards (see endnote) — natural gas usage reduces CO2 emissions by 25% and eliminates or reduces other emissions harmful to health. Additionally, Baleària is looking to reducing its fuel-related operating costs.
The strategic plan includes conversion of four of the company’s nine ferries over the next five years. “We are working on implementing dual-fuel engines that could run on natural gas and diesel, mainly because there is no facility to operate [solely] with LNG on this route,” Baleària fleet director Guillermo Alomar said.
In the Baltic region there are numerous ferries operating gas-powered, Alomar added, stressing that “we have the ability and experience to integrate climate change into our business model. This technology investment will contribute positively to the company because the costs of maintenance of the ship and the price differential with diesel are much lower.”
(This article compiled using information from a Baleària press release)
Endnote: Following a meeting of IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), DNV advised early October 2012 that the EU has updated the Sulphur Directive and formal approval is expected by the end of 2012. The EU will enforce a 0.5% sulphur limit in EU waters from 2020 regardless of the IMO review and decision. EU Sulphur Emission Control Area (SECA) requirements will also be formally aligned with Marpol Annex VI.