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Saturday, July 2, 2011

The innovative ferry with Wind mill – Stena Jutlandica

Unlikely that most of have heard much about this important route which would take 3 hours & 15 minutes  – Gothenburg to Frederikshavn.    In Western countries, especially Europe – travel across the sea in ferries is quite common.  Ferry is a form of transportation by boats and ships transporting primarily passengers and sometimes cargo and vehicles as well across body of water including rivers and sea.  Most of the ferry services operate on regular, frequent, return services.   There are many operators and Stena Line is  one of the world's largest ferry operators.  They operate ferries in most comprehensive route network having presence in 17 ferry routes in Scandinavia and around the United Kingdom.  They claim operating 35 vessels across eight countries.
Of the many type of ferries, there is one known as RoPax – which is Freight and passenger ferry.  They are designed to  carry passengers and freight. These vessels have large decks for lorries, trailers and cars that are easy to load. In addition to facilities such as restaurants, amusement arcades and cinemas, there are also areas specifically for lorry drivers, with a separate dining room, showers and cabin. Whilst it is uncommon in Asia to travel to another country, with your vehicle, it is common in Arab and Europe World that passengers travel in their own vehicles, travel across the water bodies in ferry alongwith their ships and drive around in their own vehicles in the other country as well. 

Coming back to the route of Gothenburg – Frederikshvan which would take 3 hours 15 minutes : Frederikshavn  is a small town but important traffic portal in Denmark and Gothenburg  is the second-largest city in Sweden, a prominent sea port.    Stena Line offers low fares and a comfortable ferry crossing to Sweden. The ferry crossing from Denmark to Sweden is from Frederikshavn to Gothenburg. The return trip is consequently from Gothenburg to Frederikshavn. One can chose to travel with car, car plus caravan or motor home.

Of the many ferries owned and operated by Stena Lines, the  184.4-metre ferry Stena Jutlandica, which can carry 1,500 passengers and 550 cars is in news.  The vessel was launched in March 1996 as the Stena Jutlandica. Prior to entering service the vessel was renamed Stena Jutlandica III.  In August 1996 the vessel returned to her original name following the transfer of the previous Stena Jutlandica to the English Channel.    The vessel operates between Gothenburg and Frederikshavn.  The speciality is that it has been fitted with two 4.4-metre-high wind turbines, with a power output of 4,000 Watts. They start working when wind reaches 3.5 metres/second.

Modern day emphasis is on renewable energies and the focus is on Wind energy – the kinetic energy of the air in motion.  In parts of Tamilnadu on the way to Kanyakumari from Tirunelveli, one could see hundreds of wind mills.  Windmill also known as wind turbine is a device that converts kinetic energy from the wind into mechanical energy. Where  the mechanical energy is used to produce electricity, the device may be called a wind generator.  Besides the cluster of such windmills, there also is the Offshore wind power  i.e.,  wind farms in bodies of water to generate electricity from wind. Better wind speeds are available offshore compared to on land, so offshore wind power’s contribution in terms of electricity supplied is higher.  United Kingdom,  Germany, China and USA are the markets for offshore wind power and we do not have them in India. 

As we are used to wind turbines at land and at sea, here is something which is not anchored permanently.  Stena Line, the European ferry operator, has taken offshore wind in a different direction, with small but effective ship-mounted turbines.  As part of Stena Line's environmental efforts, the company has launched the world's first passenger ferry, the Stena Jutlandica, Gothenburg-Fredrikshaven, to be equipped with two wind turbines at the prow, contributing to both supplying energy and reducing fuel consumption.

Of course, wind has been used to drive sailing ships for centuries. This solution is different. The two turbines, mounted on 4-meter high masts on the prow of the ship, are not meant to provide motive power, but will instead produce current for the ship's electricity grid. Since they are to be placed on the prow, they will also contribute to a reduction in the ship's air resistance. This results in a reduction in fuel consumption of between 80 and 90 tpa, enough to heat 28 family homes for a year. In total, emissions reductions comes to around 269 tpa of CO2 and 1.7t of SOx. 

It is claimed that the two turbines will generate about 23,000 kWh per year, equivalent to the domestic electricity consumption for 4 normal homes during one year. Among other things, the electricity will be used to power the lighting on the Jutlandica's car deck. Stena’s authorities claimed that the  reduced air resistance at sea will result in a reduction in fuel consumption of between 80 and 90 tonne per year and that perhaps be likened to the consumption of oil for heating 28 homes during one year.  Stena Line's operations in Scandinavia are already environmentally certified according to ISO 14001. There are electricity connections for all ships in Gothenburg and, during recent years, a number of environmental improvement measures have been implemented that have resulted in either reduced energy consumption or lower fuel consumption

Wind Ferry Facts:
          Type: Vertical wind turbines
          Generator capacity: 4 kW x 2
          Estimated electricity supply: 23,000 kWh/year, equivalent to the domestic electricity consumption for 4 homes per year.
          Estimated fuel savings per year: 84 tonne, which is equivalent to heating 28 houses with oil per year. Resulting in a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 269 tonne/year and reduced sulphur emissions of 1.7 tonne/year.

Marine and occurrences at sea front are really marvellous !

Regards – S. Sampathkumar

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