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Wind Power Onboard a Ferry

Stena Line ferry with vertical-axis wind turbines
Stena Line's ship-mounted vertical-axis wind turbines generate electrical power for the vessel and reduce overall wind resistance.
Stena Line

We're used to seeing wind turbines at sea. But typically offshore wind means mammoth towers anchored in place, supporting gigantic horizontal-axis turbines. 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.

Robert Ã…kerlund, Director Technical & HR at Stena Line, comments, "Within our Energy Saving Programme, we are currently pursuing 200 environment improvement projects and this is yet another very interesting project. Stena Line has a tradition of leading when it comes to the development of different types of new solutions."

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.

The reduced air resistance at sea will result in a reduction in fuel consumption of between 80 and 90 tonne per year. "This can be compared to the consumption of oil for heating 28 homes during one year," explains Ã…kerlund.

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.

Stena Line ferry with vertical-axis wind turbines
(cc) Stena Line

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.

Read Wind Energy Systems: Control Engineering Design from Amazon.