Reframing the idea of kitchen waste onboard ferries

Meiko’s waste management and dishwashing solutions ensure operational efficiency and pleasant passenger experiences onboard Color Line’s hybrid ferry

Reframing the idea of kitchen waste onboard ferries
Meiko’s food waste disposal system provides an odourless and sustainable solution for ship galleys

Spanning nine decks and measuring 160 metres in length, Color Line’s Color Hybrid is the largest plug-in hybrid ship in the world. The ferry sails between Sandefjord, Norway, and Strömstad, Sweden.  

Each time it docks, 11,000 volts of shore power rush through a massive plug into four battery banks, enabling the ferry to glide through the fjords for 20 minutes, completely silent and emission-free, before switching to the main engines on the open ocean. Until then, all onboard operations are run using green electricity from batteries powered by land-based hydroelectric plants, including the lighting, lifts and refrigerated counters. The heating is also sustainable: a recovery system uses the engines’ wasted thermal energy to heat the onboard spaces for up to 24 hours. Even the kitchen herbs thrive sustainably, braving the Nordic weather with the warmth and light of the on-deck greenhouse. All this reduces the ship’s nitrogen oxide emissions and cuts its carbon dioxide emissions by one-third compared to other ferries of this size.  

To ensure smooth border and goods traffic between the Scandinavian neighbours, Color Hybrid offers four sailings across the Skagerrak strait between Sandefjord and Strömstad every day, transporting up to 2,000 people and 500 vehicles per crossing. As such, there is a consistent turnover of fresh buffets, food and goods onboard. This is a significant logistical task for the 100 crew members who live onboard the vessel for two weeks, before switching with a replacement crew.  

Crew members work hard to ensure these challenges are invisible to passengers. Instead, passengers are encouraged to enjoy the onboard views, dine at the Koster Buffet, grab snacks with a sea view at Utsikten Bar & Lounge or chat at Spiseriet Café. Elsewhere, fashion lovers and bargain hunters will find duty-free food, toys, clothing and electrical goods, while families can make the most of the outdoor playground.  

Despite careful projection and planning to reduce the amount of leftovers from meals, waste is inevitable in an operation like this. All wet food waste is directed into a large tank in the hull. “The system – from German manufacturer Meiko Green Waste Solutions – is completely sealed, odourless and does not need to be cooled,” said Jürgen-Iver Sell, public health manager at Color Line. “Once a week, the biomass is removed from the ship and used to produce fuel.”  

Due to the hospitality demands of the ferry, the kitchen is always a hive of activity. On average, a passenger uses four plates and three glasses while onboard. At full capacity, this would result in 32,000 dirty plates each day, as well as cups and cutlery. In addition to the logistical challenges this presents, it also creates hygiene concerns, particularly with the spread of viruses such as Covid-19. “The dishwashing area can be an epicentre for the transmission of these viruses, as thousands of people come into contact with the food and crockery from the kitchen,” said Sell.  Hence, he designed the kitchen onboard Color Hybrid to prioritise both hygiene and sustainability.  

To help achieve this aim, Meiko supplied a large dishwasher that is able to run non-stop loads with full racks of dishes. Meiko has designed the machine to calculate the necessary amount of detergent for each load, ensuring it uses as little energy and water as possible while still ensuring effective santiation. Reusable water is then stored onboard to prevent anything being disposed into the sea. 

Maximilian Lichtenberg is corporate editor of communications at Meiko 

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2022 issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. 

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By Maximilian Lichtenberg
19 May 2022

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