The Swedish shipping company Stena Line plans to operate two battery-powered ships on the Gothenburg-Frederikshavn route “before 2030”. The first of the two electric ferries, whose name and key data have already been determined, is to be ordered by 2025 at the latest.
With a length of about 200 metres, the Stena Elektra is to offer space for 1,000 passengers and a cargo capacity of 3,000 lane metres. The battery capacity is expected to be around 60 to 70 MWh, sufficient for the approximately 50 nautical mile sea route between Gothenburg on the west coast of Sweden and Frederikshavn in the north of Denmark. The batteries will be charged while the ship is in port.
Niclas Mårtensson, CEO of Stena Line says that the exact specifications will be published within a year before the order is then placed in 2025 at the latest. The company claims that the Stena Elektra will be the world’s first fossil-free RoPax vessel of its size. “This will be a huge step towards fossil-free shipping,” says Mårtensson, who is also a member of the Swedish government’s Electrification Commission.
In order to extend the ship’s range even further, Stena Line is also currently looking at possible combinations with other alternative propulsion options, such as fuel cells, hydrogen and bio-methanol. “The electrification of shipping has only just begun,” says Mårtensson. “We see great potential in future short sea shipping for both battery hybrids and fully battery-powered vessels.”
To accelerate the shift in the transport sector towards fossil-free propulsion, Stena Line has joined forces with Volvo Group, Scania and the Port of Gothenburg in a collaboration project called Tranzero. The goal of the joint initiative Tranzero is to reduce CO2 emissions in Gothenburg, Scandinavia’s largest port, by 70 per cent by 2030.
Mårtensson emphasises the importance of such cooperation, because “ferries alone are not enough”. At the same time, the infrastructure and charging options must also be developed in the ports and at the terminals.