In 2020 and 2021, Rederij Doeksen launched two new catamarans, the Willem Barentsz and sister ship Willem de Vlamingh. Both ferries sail exclusively on LNG. From 2023, SFP will produce bio-LNG in Harlingen, which will allow the ships to switch to this more sustainable type of fuel.

The ferries carry 700 passengers and 61 cars per crossing. The ships are used for the ferry connections to and from Harlingen and the Dutch Wadden Islands Vlieland and Terschelling.

‘There are several reasons why Rederij Doeksen has opted for LNG,’ says Dirk Spoor, general manager of Rederij Doeksen. ‘By sailing on LNG, Rederij Doeksen actively chooses to make a significant contribution to the preservation of the vulnerable environment of the Unesco World Heritage Site, the Wadden Sea. The environmental benefits are clear, namely significantly less harmful emissions: particulates (-95 per cent), SOx (-100 per cent) and NOx (-90 per cent). The emissions of the main engines meet the Euro Stage V standard. With these gas engines, post-treatment of the exhaust gases is no longer necessary.’

He adds: ‘Bio-LNG is on the agenda for the near future. Thanks to the efficient hull shape, numerous energy-saving innovations and the use of only LNG, a ten to twenty per cent reduction in CO₂ is already being achieved. With the switch to bio-LNG, a reduction of 85 per cent is possible. It would be nice if this bio-LNG is produced in the north of the Netherlands in the future.’

Also read: Larger propellers for Doeksen’s LNG ferry Willem Barentsz

Bio-LNG produced locally by SFP

And this wish of Rederij Doeksen is close to being fulfilled. The company SFP has announced that it will start supplying bio-LNG in 2023. Bio-LNG is produced from organic residues from agriculture, among other things, and therefore meets the highest standards of sustainability.

SFP already produces about 21 million m3 of green gas in Zeeland and will soon start building a new plant in Harlingen. Per year, nine kilotonnes will be produced. To give an impression: One third of this volume is sufficient to run both Rederij Doeksen ships on 100 per cent bio-LNG the whole year. There is also already considerable interest from the road transport sector. Currently, 1000 trucks run on LNG. The aim is to have 10,000 trucks running on bio-LNG by 2030.

Also read: New Doeksen LNG ferries reuse waste heat through ORC technology

Ministry positive about step to bio-LNG

On 14 June, State Secretary of Infrastructure and Water Management, Stientje Van Veldhoven, paid a visit to Rederij Doeksen in Harlingen. The Ministry is positive about the step taken by Rederij Doeksen and SFP to further shape the transition from LNG to bio-LNG.

Stientje van Veldhoven (left) during her visit to Rederij Doeksen (picture by Joachim de Ruijter).

Stientje van Veldhoven, State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management and concessionaire, likes to visit the islands and calls the arrival of the new ships a good development: ‘These catamarans are more environmentally friendly than diesel powered ships. In a vulnerable area like the Wadden Sea, it is important that we look at how we can make transport more sustainable.’

Picture: The Willem Barentsz is one of two ferries that runs exclusively on LNG (by Rederij Doeksen/Flying Focus).