The Baleària shipping company has started the refuelling work for the Naples ferry so that it can be powered by liquefied natural gas. The ship arrived yesterday at Gibdock shipyards in Gibraltar, where the modification of the engines and the installation of the LNG tank, whose completion is scheduled on February 15, will be carried out.
Thus, the two current engines of the ship (MAN9L48 / 60) will go to the version 9L51 / 60DF, dual motors to liquefied natural gas and fuel from the company MAN Energy Solutions. With this change in fuel, the Naples ferry is expected to stop emitting 9,113.45 tons of CO2 and 871.37 NOx emissions each year, and completely eliminate sulfur and particulate emissions (which means 75.95 tons of SOx). The annual carbon dioxide savings would be equivalent to the emission of 6,000 cars (or to plant 18,000 new trees). It is foreseen that in the twinship Sicily this remotorization will be carried out later on.
In addition, a tank to store liquefied natural gas with a capacity of 440 cubic meters will be installed on the ship, from the company Wärtsilä, which will allow the ship to have a range of 1,200 miles. The gas pipes will be supplied by Cryospain, while the engineering project has been carried out by Cotenaval.
The total investment in this retrofit amounts to 12 million euros, 20% of which will be paid through the CEF (Connecting Europe Facility) funds of the European Union, which qualified as excellent the project submitted for the re-deployment to LNG of a total of five vessels of the fleet. Thus, in addition to Naples, until the end of 2021 Baleària plans to change the engines of the Abel Matutes, Sicily, Bahama Mama and Martín i Soler ferries, and another ferry without the help of the CEF funds.
The use of liquefied natural gas as fuel is a strategic commitment of Baleària, which responds to criteria of social responsibility and economic profitability. In this line, the shipping company is also finalizing the construction of the first two smart ships with LNG engines that will sail in the Mediterranean (the Hypatia de Alejandría will start operating at the beginning of 2019 and the Marie Curie a few months later) and the first fast world ferry for passengers and cargo powered by dual LNG engines.
“The axiom, less pollution, greater economic profitability works fully with this fuel,” says the president of Baleària, Adolfo Utor. “We plan to have, in the next three years, at least half of our fleet of ferries sailing with this clean energy, and reach one hundred percent of the fleet within a period of ten years,” he concludes.
Liquefied natural gas is one of the fossil fuels most respectful of the environment. Its use implies the reduction of CO2 emissions by 30%, NOx by 35% and the total elimination of sulfur and particles, which has an immediate effect on improving air quality and reducing the greenhouse effect.
It should be noted that the shipping company has been working on projects related to liquefied natural gas since 2012. Thus, in addition to being a founding member of the Spanish Association of Natural Gas for Mobility (GASNAM), created in 2013, it has strategic agreements with Naturgy (with who has an exclusive LNG subminister contract for 10 years) and Rolls Royce and Wärtsilä (for the construction of engines). In addition, last year launched the first generator of electricity to LNG in a passenger ship, Abel Matutes, and has launched since 2015 an LNG training plan for its crew and ship inspectors.