Natural gas fuels ferries in Finland
The Finnish flag is fiercely clacking at the stern as the Viking Grace carves through spring ice, past scores of small islands on the route between Stockholm in Sweden and Turku in Finland.
A maritime revolution is taking place in this narrow waterway and its archipelago of hundreds of small islands. The Viking Grace, a brand new cruise ferry, is fuelled entirely by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and is the first of a new generation of green passenger ships.
"It's very important for us at Viking Lines to be a pioneer and save our environment," says Captain Magnus Thornroos on the ship's wide bridge.
Down in the bowels of the ship, the engines are running on 100% gas, although they are capable of using old-fashioned diesel as a back-up propellant if necessary.
"LNG is the cleanest of the fossil fuels we have on Earth," says First Engineer Victor Gingsjoe.
"Compared to running on diesel oils, the particle matter that we release into the atmosphere is virtually nothing. The sulphur oxide emissions are practically nothing. And also we can reduce the CO2 [carbon dioxide] by up to 30%."
...This makes much more sense than the US military's experiment with expensive biofuels as an alternative. Biofuels can cost over $40 a gallon while the equivalent natural gas fuel is a fraction of the cost of diesel used today. Natural gas is cleaner and cheaper.