ZVT Radio: Stena

Zero Vision Tool is simply what gives us the opportunity to communicate with the authorities, as well as the entire maritime cluster, so we think it works extremely well, says Per Stefenson, Stena Teknik, one of the participants in the EU project Pilot Methanol. Listen to the interview in Swedish or read the English translation

Pilot Methanol

Objective: To demonstrate a cost effective, clean and easy-to-handle fuel alternative with an easy infrastructure implementation.
Participants: Wärtsilä, Stena, Port of Gothenburg, Port of Kiel

Per Stefenson, Stena Teknik. Which project are you managing in Zero Vision Tool?

- I’m managing what we call Pilot Methanol.
Which other organisations are involved in this project?
- Well, it’s a project that we are carrying out together with Wärtsilä, which is a major engine manufacturer, and Stena Oil, which is involved with bunkers for our vessels, and also Port of Gothenburg and Port of Kiel, as those are the two ports we travel between, using the vessels included here in this project.
What do you consider to be most the important aspect of the work in Project Methanol?
- This has come about because we have the new Sulphur Directive which comes into force on 1 January 2015. And, there are several different ways of dealing with it. One of those ways is to invest in alternative fuels, and we have therefore looked at what is available in terms of alternative fuels. LNG is a natural alternative, which there has been a lot of talk about and many have also tested, and where we also have a similar pilot project which is run by others. And then we have identified methanol as a potentially relevant alternative fuel as well. We’ve had several earlier projects before this project in which we investigated and tested methanol, which showed that it seems to work as a marine fuel.
In what way did it seem good?
- Well, there’s no sulphur whatsoever in methanol, so you would comply with the sulphur regulations with room to spare, so to say. Plus, this would also give low NOX values, nitrogen oxides, which would mean that we could potentially operate without the catalysers we use today. And then, there are essentially no particles from methanol operation either, so you would basically be taking care of a whole list of other issues in one fell swoop if you switched to this type of fuel.
What issues are there to take care of?
- Well, there are the exhaust gases, of course. We believe that new regulations will be introduced which will also deal with particle emissions, and we know these are coming in relation to NOX, and we would therefore resolve everything in this area in one fell swoop.
What do you see as the advantages of being one of the projects that is working via Zero Vision Tool?
- Zero Vision Tool gives us the opportunity to communicate with the authorities, as well as the entire maritime cluster, so we think it works extremely well. So it is the Swedish Shipowners’ Association and it’s the Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications and the Swedish Transport Administration, and anyone else who is involved, which we think is really good, and it has proven to be such that we have a good communication thanks to Zero Vision Tool.
In what ways has this been shown so far?
- We have met every so often, fairly regularly, which we wouldn’t have done before. It is something that has come through this initiative.
Why did you choose to create this project as one of the three pilots? The three alternative solution proposals are Scrubber, LNG and Methanol.
- There is also one more solution proposal, which is what around 90-95 per cent of all vessels will choose, and that is diesel. Low-sulphur diesel. It’s essentially what everyone will be made to do in principle on 1 January. But then, as you say, we have Scrubber, LNG and Methanol, which are the other alternatives here.
I think by about 2020, we need to have made reductions of 30% in relation to fossil-free fuel. And by about 2050, I believe that we hope that 80% will have been eliminated or thereabouts. It’s just that there is no fuel today that could lead to this, not even methanol, because methanol is produced from natural gas. If you want to advance further and really eliminate fossil fuels, then you have to find some kind of alternative.
Methanol can actually be produced from biomass, which makes it CO2-neutral, or as good as anyway. And in the next step it is actually possible to produce methanol from captured CO2 as well, and water, if you have electricity. And this is being done today, in test facilities on Iceland, where they are using geothermic electricity from the volcanoes, and then collecting CO2 from the volcanoes, and then boiling everything together to make methanol. The idea is that this is what the Icelandic fishing fleet will run on. And it does work. It is clear that there will be costs with all of this in the beginning, but it is something that could actually be a very environmentally friendly fuel in the future.
Thank you very much!