First LNG-powered ferry to begin service in Quebec

FA Gauthier-Ferry-Quebec-LNG-Italy-shipbuilding-EDIWeekly
F. A. Gauthier left the Naples shipyard on April 1 to sail to Quebec.

 

The first liquefied natural gas-powered ferry “of its kind” to operate in North America left the Italian shipyard where it was built on April 1 and set sail for Québec. The F A Gauthier, which is also the first LNG ship built by Fincantieri in its shipyard in Castellammare di Stabia (Naples), was built for the Société des traversiers du Québec (STQ), the Québec crown corporation that operates the province’s ferries.

According to Fincantieri, the new vessel represents a “genuine technological revolution,” featuring the most advanced energy-saving and environmental-impact solutions, which will enable the reduction of CO2, NOx (nitrogen oxide) and SOx (sulphur oxide) emissions. The dual fuel ship’s propulsion system is powered by four diesel-powered electric generators that can run on either diesel or LNG.

At 133 metres long and 22 metres wide, the F A Gauthier has a maximum speed of 20 knots and can carry 800 passengers and 180 vehicles. The ship is also built to break sea ice and to operate in the harsh climatic conditions of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

According to the American Oil & Gas Reporter, there are now just 30 LNG-powered vessels in service worldwide, and another 30 in design or construction. Some of these are destined for Canada. The government of British Columbia has said it intends to switch to LNG for all ferries operated in the province, and Quebec has two more of the vessels currently on order. The first ship with LNG propulsion was launched in 2001 in Norway.

LNG offers an important economic advantage to shipowners, as well as the environmental benefits to the public. The cost of LNG is considerably below that of marine diesel; depending on market conditions, the cost saving can be 50 per cent or more. Since fuel costs are second only to labour costs in operating a fleet of ferries, such large savings are attractive. B.C. Ferries has said that running five vessels on LNG will save it about $12 million a year in fuel costs, about 10 per cent of its total annual fuel bill.

Stricter emissions regulations are helping push adoption of LNG-powered shipping. Both east and west sea coasts of North America, as well as the coasts of Northern Europe are classified as emission control areas (ECAs) under the terms of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. The new Italian-built ferry coming to Canada meets these ECA requirements, which will become stricter over the next ten years or so.

The technical obstacles to implementing LNG as a shipping fuel have been eliminated, according to experts (Det Norsk Veritas), and there have been no major safety incidents recorded. In fact, the biggest impediment to the wider adoption of LNG in the near term is the lack of production infrastructure. A report by the American Clean Skies Foundation notes that development of the infrastructure could erode the cost benefits of using LNG.

Did you miss this?

Other Popular Stories

  • California to test grid-scale power-to-gas energy storage
  • Strong auto exports highlight industry's importance, vulnerability to TPP
  • Space X Mars plans become feasible: Elon Musk's multi-planet species goal may yet launch
  • Consumer spending drives strong GDP growth in second quarter
  • TESS SpaceX Launch
  • SpaceX "first orbital class rocket capable of reflight" test flight today: $12 billion in contracts and a 100 missions at stake: live feed of launch
  • Manufacturing continues to grow but exports decline, increasing Canada's trade deficit in February
  • Siemens Canada, Manitoba Hydro sign $800 million contract
  • Wood-based battery the next energy storage solution?
  • $2 Billion expansion of Nova gas pipeline planned by TransCanada Corp to increase pipeline capacity
  • India interested in oil and gas as well as uranium from Canada
  • Manufacturers and employers win with new Labour rules in Ontario; jobs did increase 17,600 in January 2019
  • Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, first electric minivan, rolls out in Windsor
  • January manufacturing sales best ever: Statistics Canada
  • Carbon neutral concrete? They're working on it.
  • Researchers find way to turn wood into supercapacitors
  • BC refinery close to financing deal
  • Pipeline companies support new government regulations
  • IKEA buys Alberta wind farm
  • Bombardier to build more commuter trains for London transit
Scroll to Top