New power source for passenger ships could improve air quality in Tallinn ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Tallink ships in port in Tallinn.
Tallink ships in port in Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The air in the center of Tallinn is expected to become cleaner from summer, as passenger ships along the quays of the passenger port will start to use shore-side electricity.

Currently, one passenger ferry from Tallinn to Stockholm or Helsinki consumes as much electricity as a small town, and the systems must be operational even when the ships are docked at the quayside.

One ship emits the same amount of CO2 when docked in port each year as a car does when driving for 12 million kilometers. The ship also emits nitrogen and sulfur compounds to the air.

But this summer, things should change. The Port of Tallinn has already completed infrastructure which allows ships to receive shore-side electricity when docked.

Taavi Tilk, Head of the Energy Department at the Port of Tallinn, said: "The port is ready today. Because the ships themselves are like a big island, acting as a separate city, connecting it to a land network is many times more difficult. To carry it out so that safety is guaranteed, so the technological systems work perfectly with each other, that's why today we're in the phase where we're testing every step. In the end, it's will all happen automatically."

The Port of Tallinn has contributed €3.5 million and the Tallink shipping company €600,000 per vessel. However, the venture will ultimately pay off in terms of both the environment and fuel consumption.

Andrus Vaher, Tallink's environmental and sustainability specialist said: "We will emit less than 1,400 tons of carbon dioxide a year." He added emissions going into the atmosphere will decrease significantly in the future. There will be approximately 20 tons fewer nitrogen oxides and about 800 kilograms fewer sulfur oxides.

Tallink ships will also use shore-side electricity in Helsinki, where the necessary infrastructure is not as developed as Tallinn's is yet. It is hoped the necessary connections will be ready for Swedish sailing vessels by November this year, and for Estonian-Finnish vessels next year. 

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Editor: Helen Wright

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