MARITIME companies in Finland are collaborating to position the country as a leader in sustainable maritime innovation.

Finland is home to a “maritime cluster” of ports, shipping companies, marine equipment manufacturers, shipyards and system providers. The cluster includes around 1800 companies and 40,000 employees.

Wärtsilä, the company supplying the engines for the two new Spirit of Tasmania vessels (currently under construction in Finland), is working to decarbonise the industry from its Sustainable Technology Hub in Vaasa.

The company is testing future fuels in its research laboratories and aims to become carbon neutral in its own operations by 2030.

Juha Kytölä, director of research and development, and engineering, at Wärtsilä, said the company’s strategy could be summed up in one word: decarbonisation.

“We focus on decarbonisation with decarbonising marine and energy,” he said.

“We’re looking further and understanding how current steps and the next steps will be done. There is a need to do more and more together with other capable and skilful stakeholders.

“It’s through partnering, it’s through collaboration, it’s through joint programs and bringing more transparency.”

Wärtsilä tests its innovations on Aurora Botnia, a ferry it describes as a “floating test lab”.

Aurora Botnia was built by Rauma Marine Constructions and is operated by Wasaline on a route between Vaasa in Finland and Umeå in Sweden. The vessel has been named the most environmentally friendly passenger ferry in the world.

On Tuesday this week Wasaline launched its Green Corridor Fridays initiative.

From 13 October, Aurora Botnia will operate with certified biogas every Friday in preparation for the EU emissions trading system that will come into force next year.  

“This is a pilot project to measure the interest of our cargo owners and passengers, and whether it is financially viable to continue biogas purchases,” Wasaline managing director Peter Ståhlberg said.

The Green Fridays pilot project will continue until Christmas, which would make all Friday departures until the end of the year climate neutral.

DCN visited Wärtsilä’s Sustainable Technology Hub and Aurora Botnia as a guest of Business Finland. Further coverage will appear in upcoming DCN magazine editions.