Electromobility has long been a hot topic for transport industries, and some areas have already made headways. Why has it taken such a long time for the shipping industry to embark on this journey? Stena Line aims to change that with their first completely fossil-free ship.
According to Patrik Almqvist, Head of Network and Fleet at Stena Line, there are several reasons why the shipping industry has lagged behind other transport areas in the field of electromobility -
"For large ferries, batteries are a considerable challenge. It takes a huge amount of energy to move a ship across the water, which of course affects the bulk of batteries needed. Another large obstacle is how to charge these batteries when in port. In simpler terms: the challenge grows with the size of the transport."
The Stena Elektra will be a completely different vessel. It will be 215-metre-long ferry with a capacity of 3,100 lane metres - 160 trucks or 700 cars, and up to 1500 passengers.
Charging the ship in port will be a challenge. In order for Stena Elektra to travel from Göteborg to Frederikshavn, 30 MWh of energy is required. This is similar to the daily electricity consumption of approximately 850 households. Few ports have the infrastructure required to meet this demand, especially when the ship is only docked for 60 to 90 minutes.
By 2030, Stena Line aims to reduce its total CO2 emissions by 30 percent, and in 2050 the ferry company aims for zero emissions.
"We are going to launch a completely fossil-free ship. That is our mission. Exactly what energy sources will be used remains to be seen. But we have to challenge ourselves, and we must start running – now"
says Patrik Almqvist.
In the end, Stena Elektra might not be fully electric – but it will be fully fossil-free. To reach that goal, questions must get answered and obstacles overcome. Energy source, infrastructure and whether policy makers are up for the task. What can be stated is that Stena Elektra won’t be a one-off, it will be a flexible modular concept used as a blueprint for many vessels to come.
Regardless of the challenges ahead, Stena Elektra will become a reality. The next nine years will be crucial for the project as well as the industry as a whole. Within a year, an updated concept design of the ferry will be revealed, and by 2025 the first order can be placed, paving the way for the launch in 2030.