Baleària and Axpo make Europe’s first decarbonised crossing a reality using biomethane as a renewable fuel

Baleària y Axpo hacen realidad el primer viaje descarbonizado de Europa usando biometano como combustible renovable

Axpo Iberia and Baleària achieved a new milestone today in the decarbonisation of maritime transport with the first pilot crossing in Europe made by a fast ferry using 100% renewable fuel. The 133-mile crossing between the ports of Barcelona and Ciutadella in Menorca was made by the Baleària vessel Eleanor Roosevelt, the world’s first fast ferry with natural gas hybrid engines.

The use of biomethane as a renewable fuel for this crossing has avoided the emission of over 50 tonnes of CO2 into atmosphere. This means that an equivalent volume of fossil fuel has been replaced in the Spanish gas system, taking the decarbonisation of the Spanish energy system in general and the maritime transport sector in particular one step further.

The Eleanor Roosevelt, recently bought by Baleària and which usually operates the Denia-Ibiza-Palma route, is the first fast ferry in the world with natural gas engines. As the company’s flagship, it demonstrates Baleària’s commitment to sustainability and innovation. The ferry operator is a pioneer in the use of natural gas and has invested €380 billion in a fleet of nine ferries powered by natural gas, a fuel that reduces emissions into the atmosphere.

During the crossing, the Company and Climate Foundation presented the “XII Situation Report on Global CO2 Emissions, 2019″, which offered the most recent official verified figures on CO2 emissions at global, European and Spanish level. After the presentation, Ignacio Soneira, Managing Director of Axpo Iberia presented the chair of Baleària, Adolfo Utor, with the certificates of renewable origin to certify the crossing’s neutral emissions.

As a result, Baleària has laid the basis for the full decarbonisation of maritime passenger transport in the near future, by using renewably sourced fuels in its vessels. Adolfo Utor highlighted that “this first experience taken in cooperation with an important partner reaches a new milestone on the pathway that we have set ourselves towards achieving decarbonisation by 2050, using biomethane as a renewable fuel“. He added that “although it is a scarce fuel source at present, we hope that it will soon become accessible, in both volume and competitiveness“, noting that Baleària has already started to work with fuels of the future such as renewable hydrogen and biomethane.

This innovative initiative has strengthened Axpo’s position as a supplier of LNG as a marine fuel (bunkering), using biomethane as a new lever in the fight against climate change. “In 2015, Axpo was the first energy company in Spain to market biomethane and this project sends a clear message as regards our commitment to a decarbonised energy future, thanks to a 100% renewably sourced fuel that will help meet the sustainable development goals set by Europe for 2030“, commented Ignacio Soneira after the event. “For some years now, Axpo Iberia has closed transactions that have had a direct impact on decarbonising the Spanish energy system. Axpo Iberia signed its first long-term electrical power purchase agreement, which has managed to increase the installed solar production capacity in Spain, and, last year, the first long-term biomethane sales contract, thus replacing more than 25 GWh of fossil natural gas annually“, he added.

Companies and industries of every type understand their actions and decisions in relation to energy consumption are vital to achieve a lower use of fossil fuels and of its key role in the energy transformation. Europe’s decarbonisation challenges are very demanding and require the use of every mechanism in our grasp. In this regard, waste-to-energy by transforming it into biomethane becomes a key ally.