BC Ferries has won the Shippax Retrofit Award for completing the conversion of one of their vessels from diesel to liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The award, received last month at the Shippax Ferry Conference, recognizes the ambition of the work performed on the Spirit of British Columbia, which is among the largest passenger ferries ever to be converted to run on natural gas. BC Ferries say it is also currently the only passenger ferry in the world with the capability to refuel LNG via delivery on a fully enclosed vehicle deck.
“We are honoured to receive this award and to be recognized by our peers for our innovation and commitment to adopting clean technology that reduces BC Ferries’ environmental footprint,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President and CEO.
BC Ferries seems to have been proactive recently regarding green issues, collaborating in noise-level research and creating new tools and training systems to mitigate their impact on marine wildlife.
The Spirit of British Columbia was the first of the two Spirit Class vessels to switch to greener technology. The conversion to natural gas necessitated the four main engines being switched with new dual-fuel engines, and the installation of a large LNG tank beneath the main deck. Additionally, a new fuel bunkering system had to be developed.
“By using natural gas to fuel the two Spirit Class vessels, BC Ferries expects to reduce CO2 emissions by 12,500 tonnes annually, which is the equivalent of taking approximately 2,500 vehicles off the road every year,” Collins adds.
BC Ferries says it is an industry leader when it comes to adopting new technology that lowers emissions. The Salish Class vessels, introduced in 2017, were the first passenger ferries in the world to refuel LNG on an open vehicle deck using proprietary tanker truck technology. BC Ferries say the company developed both of these innovations with their partners.
The Spirit of British Columbia’s conversion to LNG took place during its scheduled mid-life upgrade between the fall of 2017 and early 2018, at Remontowa Shiprepair Yard in Poland.
The vessel’s sister ship, the Spirit of Vancouver Island, was upgraded a few weeks ago, and will re-enter service between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen later this spring.