Finnish shipowner Meriaura Group has started the preparation and design of a transport concept that targets 100% carbon neutrality by 2024. The concept is based on hybrid propulsion that combines sustainably produced bio-oil and battery technology. In addition, the aim is to automate the entire cargo handling process.
“Meriaura Group’s goal is to launch in 2024 the first transportation concept based on renewable energy since the era of large sailing ships,” said Jussi Mälkiä, president of Meriaura Group.
The concept takes into account the entire transport chain. Details and commercial operating model are in process and under development. The concept is designed especially for lake, canal and sea feeder traffic, and the plan is to pilot it in lake Saimaa in in southeastern Finland. The Saimaa canal locks are being extended and the size of the new concept vessel corresponds to the new maximum dimensions.
Founded in 1986 by Mälkiä first for supporting environmental NGOs, Meriaura moved into the tug business then into dry bulk in the 1990s. Today the group’s fleet numbers 17 shortsea general cargo ships.