Baleària and Axpo make Europe’s first decarbonised voyage a reality using biomethane as a renewable fuel
Axpo Iberia and Baleària have today marked a new milestone in the decarbonisation of maritime transport by making the first European pilot trip on a fast ferry with 100% renewable fuel. The 133-mile journey between the ports of Barcelona and Ciutadella (Menorca) was made by Baleària’s Eleanor Roosevelt vessel, the world’s first fast ferry with dual natural gas engines.
The use of the renewable biomethane fuel on this route has prevented the emission of more than 50 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. This means that an equivalent volume of fossil fuel has been displaced in the Spanish gas system, marking a further step towards the decarbonisation of the Spanish energy system in general and the maritime transport sector in particular.
The Eleanor Roosevelt is the world’s first fast ferry with natural gas engines. It has just been launched by Baleària and usually operates on the Denia-Ibiza-Palma route. This flagship exemplifies the company’s commitment to sustainability and innovation. Baleària is a pioneer in natural gas and has invested 380 million euros in a fleet of nine ferries powered by this fuel, a gas that reduces atmospheric emissions.
The trip also included the presentation of the “XII Situation Report on CO2 global emissions. 2019” by the Fundación Empresa y Clima, which provides the latest verified official data on the situation of CO2 emissions at the global, European and Spanish levels. At the end of the presentation, Ignacio Soneira, General Manager of Axpo Iberia, presented Baleària’s Chairman, Adolfo Utor, with the renewable origin certificates that prove the neutral emissions of this voyage.
In this way, Baleària is laying the foundation stone for the total decarbonisation of maritime passenger transport in the near future, by using renewable fuels in its ships. Adolfo Utor remarked that “This is the first initiative that we are conducting with the help of an important partner, and it marks a new milestone on the path we have set for ourselves towards decarbonisation by 2050, by being able to use biomethane as a renewable fuel. Utor added that “Although it is currently a scarce fuel, we hope that it will soon be more accessible, both in terms of volume and competitiveness”, and he highlighted the fact that Balearia has already begun to work with future fuels such as renewable hydrogen and biomethane.
With this innovative initiative, Axpo is reinforcing its position as a supplier of LNG for marine fuel (bunkering), using biomethane as a new weapon in the fight against climate change. “Axpo was the first operator to market biomethane in Spain, in 2015, and this project sends a clear message about our commitment to a decarbonised energy future thanks to a 100% renewable fuel that will contribute to meeting the sustainable development goals set by Europe for 2030”, explained Ignacio Soneira at the end of the event. “For several years now, Axpo Iberia has been making deals that have had a direct impact on the decarbonisation of the Spanish energy system. Axpo Iberia signed the first long-term agreement for the sale and purchase of renewable electricity, thereby increasing Spain’s solar production capacity and, last year, it secured the first long-term agreement for the sale and purchase of biomethane, thereby displacing more than 25 GWh per year of fossil gas from the gas system”, he added.