Ferry Business - Spring/Summer 2023

98 INTERVIEW Green operations are in Viking’s DNA Recycling began onboard Viking Line’s vessels four decades ago. Susan Parker asks Jan Hanses how the Finnish operator is continuing to improve its environmental footprint “ Viking Line will continue to reduce energy consumption by three per cent a year” When Viking Glory took to the waters in March 2022, almost a decade after sister ship Viking Grace was inaugurated, the vessel produced 10 per cent fewer emissions than its predecessor. “We made the hull more hydrodynamically efficient and we introduced, for the first time, Azipods to speed up manoeuvring in harbours and ports,” says Jan Hanses, CEO of Viking Line. “This saves time, which enables us to slow down in the archipelago and, by doing so, save on fuel [and hence reduce emissions].” Both ships are powered by LNG and are already equipped to start using biogas, or synthetic fuels produced from renewable energy, when they become commercially available. “We are doing investigations with Finnish gas suppliers in order to possibly introduce biogas as a first step,” says Hanses. The idea is to start with cargo ships, whereby freight owners can pay a bit more for a portion of the biogas being used to provide power. The plan is to then give the same option to passengers. “But that is harder to do as it would be a very small portion of the biogas that one passenger would buy,” notes Hanses. Viking Line is also looking at other possibilities to reduce emissions, including synthetic fuel, whereby it would use e-methane combined with energy from wind parks to provide a completely fossil-free fuel. However, Hanses say that before this can happen: “We need the infrastructure to be built up, especially production plants for e-methane fuels. The projects are commencing but I expect it to be a few years before we see the first introduction of those.” In the meantime, Viking Line is installing Elogrids on the bow thrusters Viking Glory currently runs on LNG fuel but can switch to operating on biogas or synthetic fuels made from renewable energy as soon as they become commercially available