Positive environmental impact

One of the most environmentally friendly measures we can carry out is to reduce the emissions from our ferries. This is why, in 2018, we implemented the largest sustainability project in our history – the changeover to battery power of two of our ferries.

ForSea is working continuously to reduce the impact of ferry traffic on the environment in the Öresund region. To name an example, in 2007 our ferries were the first in Sweden to use a scrubber cleaning system on all our engines. Since the early 1990s, every one of our boats has also sailed using fuel containing less sulphur than the limits specified by the SECA rules dating from 2015. In 2018, we took another huge step in helping the environment when our ferries the Tycho Brahe and Aurora were converted to operate by battery power.

65% drop in emissions

The conversion to electrical power has resulted in a huge drop in carbon dioxide emissions. This complex project took less than four years to complete, and no other environmental investment or technical improvements would have achieved comparable emissions reductions.

A fully automatic laser-controlled robot arm connects to the ferry each time it is in dock to recharge. An effective charging time of between 5 - 9 minutes is sufficient for a 20-minute crossing. The batteries are recharged using green electricity from wind, water and solar sources. As a result, the two battery-powered ferries produce no emissions whatsoever. It means that the total carbon dioxide emissions on a line running completely on battery power are reduced by approximately 65% per year – equivalent to 23,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. The battery-powered ferries also suffer from less noise and vibrations, which is positive for passengers, people living nearby and marine life.

Using battery power also reduces NOx and sulphur oxide emissions by around 65%. These emissions were already relatively low thanks to the use of scrubber cleaning methods and low-sulphur fuels which had already been in use for some time. ForSea has no emissions to water as all of the grey and black water is transferred to land at the terminals and cleaned, either by a qualified provider or by a local wastewater treatment plant.

Reducing our energy consumption

Converting ferries to battery power not only results in lower emissions, it also reduces ForSea’s energy demand. This is because the conversion efficiency for batteries is much higher than that of a diesel engine. When powered by batteries alone, the energy consumption for a ferry is expected to be reduced by around 40%.

Our aim is to reduce the company’s energy demand even further with, for example, ECO driving which involves the use of more fuel-efficient sailing strategies. A special project group involving a navigator from each vessel has been working with on ECO driving since 2016. ForSea also has its own ferry simulator focusing on strategies and practical exercises in the use of ECO driving.

In autumn 2018, a test was carried out using the Blue Flow fuel measuring system on the Aurora. With the help of the system, a navigator can monitor diesel consumption in real-time and adapt his or her steering strategy accordingly. Blue Flow has proven itself to be an effective tool in reducing fuel consumption, so it will be rolled out onto all our other vessels throughout 2019.

More energy-efficient operations

We are also carrying out measures aimed at reducing our energy use in our onshore operations across the rest of the company. Energy audits across the business as a whole have contributed to around 30 improvement activities being undertaken.

These activities have been coordinated by the ForSea Energy savings group and include the refurbishment and more effective steering of heating and ventilation systems and of pumps both onboard vessels and in buildings. Cars, trucks and other vehicles have also been gradually converted to electrical power at the terminals. The use of LED lighting has also contributed towards a reduction in the use consumption of electricity. In 2018, the decision was made to certify ForSea in accordance with the energy management systems standard ISO 50001:2011, which should also contribute towards improved energy efficiency. Subsequently, green electricity was used in just parts of our company. From 2019 onwards, green electricity will be used across the whole company. This is calculated to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by around an additional 300 tonnes per year.

Developments in 2018

Emissions into the atmosphere

Carbon dioxide

By running the Aurora and Tycho Brahe totally by battery power, the aim is to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 65%. This corresponds to a reduction of some 23,000 tonnes. The reduction in emissions for the whole of 2018 was approximately 10% (or 3,660 tonnes), which was due to the fact that the changeover to battery power was not completed until November of that year.

NOx and sulphur oxides  

Using only battery power also reduces sulphur oxide and NOx emissions by around 65%. Throughout 2018, sulphur oxide emissions were reduced by 1 tonne (equivalent to 9%) and NOx emissions were reduced by 3.5 tonnes (equivalent to 12%).

Emissions to water

ForSea’s aim is to have zero discharge into the water. There was no discharge into the water throughout 2018 either.

Energy consumption

The company’s entire energy consumption was mapped out in 2018. The aim of this was partly to get a better understanding of what the energy consumption across the whole company looked like and partly to clarify which measures we should take to reduce consumption. The investigation came up with an action plan and around 30 points which are expected to reduce our energy consumption by an additional 800,000 kWh. In 2019, we aim to reduce our total consumption by 39%. This involves more changeovers to battery power, the effects of ECO driving plus other energy savings the company has achieved.