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Tuesday, April 14, 2020 

Wärtsilä, Stena, and Methanex Corporation are jointly celebrating five years of successful operation of the methanol-fuelled ro-pax 'Stena Germanica', the first ship to run on methanol as a marine fuel, signifying a milestone in the shift towards decarbonisation efforts.

Stena Germanica was converted to be capable of running on methanol fuel in early 2015 at Remontowa Shipyard in Poland. The 240m ferry, with a capacity for 1500 passengers and 300 cars, was retrofitted with a first-of-its-kind fuel-flexible Wärtsilä four-stroke engine that can run on methanol or traditional marine fuels. The ferry began the world’s first methanol-powered sailings between Gothenburg, Sweden and Kiel, Germany in late March 2015.

“Being the owner of the world’s first ship with methanol-fuel represented a great step on our journey to become the leader in sustainable shipping, and is an achievement we are very pleased to share as we mark the five-year anniversary of Stena Germanica’s successful operation on methanol,” said Carl-Johan Hagman, Head of Shipping and Ferries, Stena. “The project took shape thanks to excellent cooperation between Methanex and Wärtsilä, and many areas within Stena.”

Stena Germanica’s retrofit is yet another example of Wärtsilä’s leading position in bringing to the market innovative systems that increase efficiency and support environmental sustainability. The use of methanol as a marine fuel is likely to increase in the future, and high quality, reliable, smart technologies are essential to success,” said Toni Stojcevski, General Manager, Sales and Development, Wärtsilä Marine.

As part of its programme aimed at enabling viable sustainable fuels, Wärtsilä is continuing to invest in methanol for marine fuel applications, and further development work and testing procedures are planned. 

Methanol is compliant with the IMO’s 2020 regulations by reducing SOx by about 99%, and has the ability to meet Tier III NOx regulations without exhaust after-treatment. Methanol is well positioned globally as a marine fuel, being available at more than 88 of the top 100 ports.

“Our aim has always been to take a leadership position by being at the forefront of innovation in commercial shipping,” said Stuart McCall, Director, Business Development, Methanex. “Thanks to projects like this, methanol has been proven as a safe, reliable, and cost-effective marine fuel, and we continue to uncover innovative technological advances that optimise the performance and efficiency of the fuel as the market for methanol-powered vessels keeps growing”.

Methanol offers a clear pathway towards meeting future carbon reduction targets when produced from renewable sources.

Stena Germanica’s conversion was a co-operation between Methanex Corporation, Stena Line, Wärtsilä, the Port of Gothenburg, and the Port of Kiel. The project was co-financed by the EU, and the classification of the conversion was conducted by Lloyd's Register.

In the five years since the Stena Germanica re-launch, the market for methanol-powered vessels has seen continued growth. Methanex Corporation's subsidiary Waterfront Shipping operates an 11-strong methanol-fuelled ocean tanker fleet, while Stena Bulk, in a joint venture with Proman Shipping, has two methanol-powered tankers on order.

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