Cruise & Ferry Review - Autumn/Winter 2023

98 INTERVIEW The latest addition to the Irish Ferries fleet is Oscar Wilde Going green Irish Ferries’ Andrew Sheen tells Justin Merrigan how the brand is working to make its ships more sustainable with the help of new fuels and eco-friendly technologies Owing to its vivid vegetation, Ireland has long been known as the Emerald Isle. Likewise, the colour green has been key in Irish Ferries’ distinctive branding since it was formed in 1973. Little wonder then that Irish Ferries takes its green responsibilities seriously. Ferry travel is an attractive option for eco-conscious travellers. Recent reports show that for for the same distance travelled, the ferry emits one per cent of what the plane emits in terms of carbon dioxide per tonne-kilometres. In addition, the ferry industry is actively implementing measures to further reduce its environmental footprint. “As exemplified by our recent fleet adaptations, various eco-friendly technologies and practices have been introduced to enhance fuel efficiency and minimise emissions,” says Andrew Sheen, managing director of Irish Ferries. “Propeller optimisation, LED lighting changes, variable frequency drives to HVAC systems, and fuel monitoring and advice systems are all steps taken by Irish Ferries to improve sustainability.” The company is also considering fully electrifying ferries for certain routes. “Electrified ships, when powered by renewable energy sources, can operate with zero emissions during their journeys, making them a highly eco-friendly option for maritime travel,” says Sheen. “We’ve also been evaluating various fuel options. Biofuels derived from renewable resources have the potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions compared to traditional fossil fuels. As technology and availability continues to improve, these fuels could become a viable and low-carbon alternative for the shipping industry a lot quicker than alternatives such as methanol.” Biofuels are also lower in toxicity than other fuels, such as ammonia which Sheen says potentially poses risks to passengers and the environment due to its high toxicity. “Biofuels offer more overall benefit than LNG too, as they exhibit lower toxicity and methane slip, making them a safer and environmentally friendly option for powering passenger ships, where four-stroke, medium-speed engines are typically installed,” he explains. “Alongside this, we are exploring how friction reduction solutions, such as passive air lubrication systems, can further enhance our hull efficiency to cut emissions during voyages in the short