Swedish ferry company Stena Line said it plans to put two battery-powered vessels into service by 2030. The new RoPax ferries, which will operate without the use of fossil fuels, are part of the company’s wider effort to reduce its environmental footprint.

The news was revealed in Gothenburg on Thursday by Stena Lines CEO Niclas Mårtensson during a press conference announcing the Tranzero Initiative, a collaborative project aiming to accelerate the transition to fossil-free fuels in the transport sector. Under the initiative, Stena Line is working with the Volvo Group, Scania and the Port of Gothenburg to reduce carbon emissions linked to the largest port in the Scandinavia by 70% before the end of this decade.

In line with the project, Stena Line, which has been operating the hybrid-electric RoPa ferry Stena Jutlandica on its Gothenburg-Frederikshavn route since 2018, will now move to introduce two fully electric vessels on the same route by 2030, Mårtensson said.

“Within a year we will present the outline specifications and at the latest by 2025 we plan to order the first vessel. This will be a huge step towards fossil free shipping,” said Mårtensson, a member of the Swedish Government Electrification Commission.

Compared to the Stena Jutlandica, which uses battery power combined with diesel generators, the newly announced Stena Elektra and its to-be-named sister vessel will sail entirely without the use of fossil fuels.

According to Stena Line, the 200-meter Stena Elektra will be the world’s first fossil-free RoPax vessel of its size, offering a passenger capacity of 1,000 with 3,000 lane meters freight capacity. The vessel will be built in high tensile steel to lower the weight and increase efficiency, Stena Line said, adding that it expects the vessel will run on battery power for approximately 50 nautical miles, the distance between Gothenburg and Frederikshavn. The battery capacity will need to be approximately 60-70 MWh, and the vessel will be charged in port.

Stena Line said it is examining options that would extend the vessels’ reach, including potentially combining the electrification with other alternative fossil-free fuels such as fuel cells, hydrogen and bio methanol.

“The electrification of shipping has only just began,” Mårtensson said. We see a great potential for both battery hybrids and battery powered vessels on several of our short-sea shipping routes in the future. “But, it takes more than the electrical ships, we also need to develop the infrastructure and charging possibilities in the ports and terminals in the same pace and that is a reason why collaborations projects like this are so important.”

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