West coast ferry operator, CalMac [Caledonian MacBrayne] is on track to meet its own target fo the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the CMAL fleet it leases.
CalMac’s target is a 2% cut, which equates to some 1,800 tonnes- equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of 4,285,714 miles driven by an average passenger car, or 645 tonnes of waste sent to landfill.
Innovative, state-of-the-art fuel management systems have been fitted across the company’s entire large vessel fleet – the first ferry company in the UK to deploy this technology – as part of Project Ecoship, allowing both the master and chief engineer to make small adjustments in real time to reduce fuel consumption.
These minor tweaks, whilst not affecting the delivery of the timetabled services [although the age of many of the vessels arguably does], have shown encouraging results – making the company’s 2% reduction target looking achievable.
All of the fleet’s major vessels have the new emission control technology on board.
These larger units and their current routes are:
- MV Caledonian Isles – Ardrossan-Brodick, Isle of Arran
- MV Clansman – Oban-Coll-Tiree-Castlebay, Isle of Barra-Lochboisdale, South Uist
- MV Hebrides – Uig, Isle of Skye-Tarbert, Isle of Harris-Lochmaddy, North Uist
- MV Finlaggan – Kennacraig-Isle of Islay
- MV Lord of the Isles – Mallaig-Lochboisdale, South Uist, Oban-Coll-Tiree-Castlebay, Isle of Barra-Lochboisdale, South Uist, Colonsay
- MV Hebridean Isles – Kennacraig-Isle of Islay
- MV Loch Seaforth – Ullapool-Stornoway, Isle of Lewis
- MV Isle of Mull – Oban-Craignure, Isle of Mull
- MV Isle of Lewis – Stornoway-Ullapool relief vessel
- MV Isle of Arran – fleet relief vessel – currently Colonsay/Islay
During a routine crossing from Ardrossan to Brodick on the Isle of Arran, CalMac’s paymaster, Transport Minister, Derek Mackay [above photograph], clearly enjoying the introduction to the system from Chief Officer Stuart Griffin, said: ‘I am pleased to get a chance to see this state-of-the-art technology in action first hand.
‘It brings clear environmental benefits, cutting the carbon footprint in some of Scotland’s most striking coastlines and sensitive marine environments.’
The way this new system works has led to closer working between the bridge and the engineering crews.
It has also opened up collaborative dialogue across the fleet, with staff exchanging ideas and tips.
Speaking of the performance of the new kit, Drew Collier, CalMac’s Operations Director, says:’We are finding some encouraging results,” said . “While it is too early to reveal any kind of scientifically concrete data, the initial figures we are seeing, as well as the anecdotal feedback from the teams on board, are optimistic.
‘Our target is to make a two per cent reduction in our release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. At the moment, we are confident that we are on track to achieve this and, importantly, we now have the technology in place to make accurate measurement.
‘Whilst the effect of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases and pollutants on air quality are well known, what is perhaps less known is that carbon dioxide is linked to acidification within our seas.
‘We are very keen to ensure that our ferries help to preserve Scotland’s marine environment in so far as possible and we are determined to work towards better and better solutions.’
Ocean acidification could have significant impact on both fisheries and sensitive marine life, causing damage not only to fish and shellfish stocks, but also to cold-water corals, like those found within the Mingulay Reef Complex in the Western Isles.
The first of CalMac’s ships to have a fuel management system fitted was MV Caledonian Isles and she has now been operating with it for some seven months. The company considers that it is still in a bedding-in phase, with on-going learning by the crew and software updates being made.
Installed at a cost of £450k, the 10 fuel management systems, produced by Royston Ltd, will, if the targets are met, pay for themselves within a single year.
No one can complain about that-and the added impact on developing teamwork on and between the vessels is a major corporate bonus.