How Stena Line is powering a sustainability agenda

Jon Ingleton learns from Erik Lewenhaupt about Stena Line’s relentless drive towards finding cleaner fuels

How Stena Line is powering a sustainability agenda
Stena Line has worked with several partners to deliver concept ship Stena Elektra

Stena Line’s sustainability strategy is pinned to five of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals: good health and well-being, responsible consumption and production, gender equality, life below water, and affordable and clean energy.

The company’s quest to increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions is directing its sustainability improvement programme. “We’re focusing on increasing energy efficiency through various projects, shoreside electricity, battery hybrids and methanol,” says Erik Lewenhaupt, head of sustainability, brand and communication at Stena Line. “We’ve already completed some very big development projects – for example, methanol conversion and our first battery hybrid installation.”

Partnerships have proven essential during these projects. “There has been a deep collaboration with suppliers such as Wärtsilä,” says Lewenhaupt. “And we’ve collaborated with countless suppliers and partners to develop parts of the project for our concept ship, Stena Elektra. Siloed knowledge banks are inappropriate for advancing the clean energy agenda. We are happy to learn from each other, after all we are all in the same boat when it comes to emissions.”

With battery and methanol projects in progress, has Stena Line cast other fuel options aside? “We’re not actively pursuing ammonia or hydrogen,” says Lewenhaupt. “We had a dialogue with Powercell in Sweden and we are monitoring developments in that field, but there is still some way to go before commercialisation. Of course, if things speed up we would be happy to rethink.”

Lewenhaupt cites two projects that are in progress over the short- and medium-term. “Our artificial intelligence-assisted fuel pilot is the best initiative in the very short term with a 2-3 per cent potential across the fleet for 2021. For the mid-term, I think the further development of battery hybrids have good potential.”

He adds: “In the longer term, fully electric ships or hybrids combined with renewable fuels through electrolysis could be a way forward – such as e-methanol.”

Lewenhaupt has some sage counsel for suppliers seeking to partner with Stena Line on their sustainablity journey. “We expect all new suppliers to be aligned with our supplier code of conduct,” he says. “The safety of our employees is, of course, always paramount. The environmental benefits that we’re seeking from suppliers vary by product – for anti-fouling and propeller lubricating oils we’re looking for marine life improvements, for fuel it’s reduced emissions, for detergents we prefer them to be Eco-label, for disposables we want them to be recyclable and biodegradable.”

This article was first published in the Autumn/Winter 2020 issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.

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Jon Ingleton
By Jon Ingleton
19 November 2020

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