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Valenciaport and Baleària become a European reference for the energy transition to LNG

Baleària is adapting five of its ferries to be powered by LNG as part of the LNGHIVE2 project it is leading together with the Fundación Valenciaport.

  • One of the ships, the Abel Matutes, is being adapted in the Port of Valencia and will be fully operational in early July.
  • Baleària, which is a pioneer in the use of natural gas, is already sailing with two ships powered by this clean energy.

14 June 2019.- This morning the session “European funding: Opportunities and success stories”, organised by the APV, the Fundación Valenciaport and Baleària within the framework of the LNGHIVE2 Green & Smart Links project, co-financed by the European Commission’s CEF Blending programme, took place in the Clock Building of the Port Authority of Valencia (APV).

The session was opened by the President of the APV and of the Fundación Valenciaport, Aurelio Martínez, who pointed out the opportunity offered by Helmut Morsi to learn, first hand, about the forthcoming opportunities for Community funding for innovation, highlighting the relevance that this has had for Valenciaport in recent years in one of its main strategic areas, namely environmental sustainability. Specifically, Martínez highlighted that the CEF program has been key to implementing many environmental innovation projects. Thus, he recalled that “the environmental strategy of the APV includes 4 axes: environmental policy, promotion of intermodality, energy efficiency and investment in renewable energy. We want to be the first self-sufficient port in Europe and, therefore, we are currently immersed in the definition of the Zero Net Emissions strategic plan for 2030, which will give rise to numerous innovation programmes”.

In this regard, the president of the APV stressed that much of the investment in environmental matters has been aimed at increasing energy efficiency of the premises, which has allowed the reduction of the Carbon Footprint in the period 2008-2016 by 17%. Likewise, Martínez explained that “we are going to dedicate a lot of effort and financial resources to the implementation of renewable energies as we believe that, with the necessary administrative authorisations, it is feasible to become energy self-sufficient in a relatively short period of time, between 5 and 7 years. For this reason, we are developing a project for the installation of 7 wind energy towers that will allow us to have a total power of 12 MWh, of which only a few administrative fringes are pending. In addition, in the second half of the year we are going to put out to tender the installation of 800 kWh of photovoltaic solar energy”.

Next, Dr. Helmut Morsi, Advisor to the Director of DG Move, gave a presentation entitled “CEF and CEF2: Opportunities for innovation – present & future”, showing some of the projects carried out in recent years and presenting future opportunities for innovation initiatives by companies in the port community. Morsi stated that “Valenciaport has been among the most innovative ports in Europe for many years and here we have a good example with the transformation of a diesel engine from ferry to LNG, which is a very important movement in relation to the environment. Another important aspect is that an existing boat has been used and has been refurbished with the new technology”.

On the other hand, the President of Baleària, Adolfo Utor, has indicated that the bet of Baleària by the natural gas use, in which it is pioneering at world-wide level, “responds to the expressed will of which the economic growth of Baleària is sustainable, therefore, compatible with the preservation of the planet”. Utor explained that social responsibility and economic profitability go hand in hand in these projects, and stressed that Baleària “saw an opportunity in the change of regulations that require the elimination of the use of fuel oil from 2020”. Finally, he stressed that the project requires a major investment effort, and that “the support of the EU has been decisive and a trigger for carrying it out”.

Finally, Eva Pérez, Director of Promotion of Innovation and Sustainability of the Fundación Valenciaport, presented the environmental and energy transition initiatives of Valenciaport as well as the European projects proposed to achieve the goal of zero emissions port in 2030.

After the session, the European Commission’s representative had the opportunity to know the state of the adaptation works of the Abel Matutes ship’s engines that is carrying out Baleària in the port of Valencia to be propelled with liquefied natural gas (LNG) instead of diesel. This work is part of the LNGHIVE2 GREEN & SMART LINKS project co-financed by the European Commission’s Connecting Europe Facility Programme and led by Baleària with the support of the Fundación Valenciaport.

The main objective of this project is the remotorization and adaptation of five vessels from Baleària (Abel Matutes, Naples, Sicily, Bahama Mama and Martín i Soler) to be propelled by LNG, a cleaner and more environmentally friendly energy, which goes far beyond current and future pollution regulations. Its use involves reducing CO2 emissions by up to 35%, NOx by 85% and sulphur and particles by 100%, which has an immediate effect on improving air quality and reducing the greenhouse effect.

Of the five ships included in the project, one of them, the Naples, is already sailing at LNG, while work is being completed on the remotorization of the Abel Matutes, which is expected to be completed and fully operational by early July. In addition, Baleària’s LNG fleet has three newly built ferries (the first has been operational since the beginning of the year and the second will be operational this summer) and a sixth vessel will be remotorised in 2021.

Thus, Baleària’s new gas-powered fleet, which in 2021 will total nine ships, makes the shipping company – one of Valenciaport’s main clients – a pioneer in this market and the first shipping company to generate demand for LNG as a fuel in Spain.

Sede APV - Edificio III, Avda. del Muelle del Turia, s/n
46024, Valencia (Spain)
Tel.: +34 96 393 94 00


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