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Brittany Ferries presents LNG-powered Salamanca

The first LNG (liquefied natural gas) powered passenger-ferry to operate from the UK is due to arrive in Portsmouth on 25 March 2022.

Ahead of her arrival – and the first commercial departure for Bilbao the following Sunday – Brittany Ferries has provided a look at the cleaner, greener ship.

Salamanca is fuelled by LNG, which is seen as the best fuel available to shipping companies today.

However, when even more renewable options like e-methane or bio-methane come on stream, Salamanca will be ready to run on them.

The ship will therefore automatically become greener in the years to come, as advances in fuel technology and supply emerge.

Fleet renewal is one of the aims for Brittany Ferries as it recovers from the Covid crisis.

Salamanca is the first of four new LNG-powered ships destined for the Brittany Ferries fleet.

A second, named Santoña, arrives in 2023.

Both ships will serve Portsmouth to Spain routes, with Salamanca linking Portsmouth with Bilbao, and Santoña with Santander, the capital of Cantabria.

Further investment has been made in two LNG-hybrid vessels, arriving in 2024 and 2025.

Brittany Ferries’ hybrids will replace two of the oldest (but much loved) ships in the Brittany Ferries fleet, Bretagne and Normandie.

They will serve UK-France routes and operate on the same principle as a hybrid car.

At sea, power will come from cleaner LNG. But in a first on the Western Channel, they will also operate partially or completely on battery power, for example when arriving and departing ports.

They will also be ready to plug in to shoreside power, when investment in the infrastructure to support it is made. This will allow recharging of batteries while at berth, as well as power for systems like air conditioning, heating and lighting on board.

Brittany Ferries is working with long-term fuel partner Repsol and the ports of Bilbao and Santander for refuelling its LNG ships.

Investment of €10 million will see the completion of facilities in each terminal ready for the arrival of Salamanca and Santoña.

Both Spanish terminals are being co-financed by the European Commission through the CEF- Connecting Europe Facilities Programme.

Brittany Ferries has also started discussions with ports like Portsmouth, Plymouth, Ouistreham and St Malo as well as government stakeholders on both sides of the Channel, to push for the rapid development of shore side power infrastructure.

This would allow hybrid vessels to plug-in while docked and to recharge their batteries, thus delivering zero emissions in port and boosting all-electric power while manoeuvring.

Although Salamanca is not the first ship to be powered by LNG, she will be the first regularly operating on the Channel. Ferry services powered by LNG already operate in the Baltic Sea and the technology is tried, tested and safe.

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