The world’s first ship to run on methanol will soon sail international waters. SP managed the necessary fire risk assessment based on SOLAS regulation 17 “Alternative design and arrangements”.
The Stena Germanica vessel is a ferry bringing vehicles and passengers across the Baltic Sea. This area together with the North Sea and the English Channel is a “Sulphur Emission Control Area” where stricter regulations to minimize emissions have faced the shipping industry with some serious challenges.
Many shipping companies have chosen to make use of LNG to meet the requirements and avoid gas after-treatment. A main advantage of using methanol is a much simpler transportation and storage as the fuel is liquid at room temperature.
“Another great benefit is that methanol may be produced from biomass, which opens up for the possibility to run on a renewable fuel in the future. Therefore Stena chose methanol for the Stena Germanica when it came to complying with the new regulations,” says Franz Evegren, fire researcher at SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden.
The fire risk assessment was performed by SP as part of the methanol conversion project at Stena, involving classification society Lloyd’s Register, engine manufacturer Wärtsilä and ship designer ScandiNaos as key partners.
The new fire safety design of the Stena Germanica was approved by the Swedish Flag in January 2015. At the end of the same month the shipyard started the new fire protection installations. By managing each introduced fire hazard Stena is now confident that fire safety has not only been maintained but improved by the conversion to methanol.
“The findings in this project and planed future research will facilitate for safer conversions to alternative and more environmentally friendly ship fuels,” says Franz Evegren.
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