Axpo Iberia powers Europe's first carbon-free ferry crossing

03.06.2021 - Axpo Iberia and the Spanish ferry operator Baleària today reached an important milestone for zero-emission maritime shipping. For the first time in Europe, a high-speed ferry has made a test crossing using only fuel from 100% renewable sources. The ferry ‘Eleanor Roosevelt’, flagship of the Baleària fleet, is equipped with natural gas hybrid engines and completed the route of 133 nautical miles between Barcelona and Ciutadella (Menorca) using renewable biomethane certified by Axpo Iberia.

The decarbonisation of energy-intensive shipping is a key element in moving towards lower CO2 emissions. The use of climate-friendly biomethane as a renewable fuel on the test trip between Barcelona and the Balearic island of Menorca avoided the emission of more than 50 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.

On board the vessel during the test trip, Axpo Iberia Managing Director Ignacio Soneira presented certification of the biomethane fuel to the president of ferry operator Baleària, Adolfo Utor, verifying the first emission-free ferry crossing in Europe.

Ignacio Soneira commented: "The enormous challenges of achieving a carbon-free world demand the use of all the means at our disposal. This includes using energy produced from waste converted into biomethane. I am very pleased that Axpo Iberia has once again been able to pioneer and make an important contribution to an emission-free energy future."

Many years of experience in biomethane trading

In 2015, Axpo Iberia was the first energy company in Spain to market biomethane. Last year, it also signed the first long-term biomethane sales contract on the Iberian Peninsula, replacing more than 25 GWh of fossil natural gas annually. In the shipping sector, Axpo Iberia is also an established supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The company has long played a leading role in LNG bunkering and is now applying its extensive expertise to the use of biomethane.

Adolfo Utor, President of Baleària, said: "Thanks to the close cooperation with Axpo Iberia, we have today reached an important milestone on our way to emission-free ferry operations. We are counting on biomethane being available in sufficient quantities and affordable in the future to enable us to use this renewable fuel."

The ‘Eleanor Roosevelt’ is the first fast ferry in the world powered by natural gas hybrid engines. Baleària recently brought the ferry into service and will use it in future on the route between the Spanish mainland and the islands of Ibiza and Mallorca. The ferry operator’s new flagship demonstrates the company's commitment to sustainability and innovation. Baleària is a pioneer in the use of natural gas in Spain and has invested around 380 million euros in nine newly acquired ferries that run on natural gas. This significantly reduces emissions into the atmosphere compared with conventional fuels.

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