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Source: the original version of this case study can be found here.


Every year, the royal Dutch ferry company TESO transports 4 million passengers and the equivalent of 1.6 million passenger cars to and from the island of Texel. In 2016, TESO went in search of a sustainable and innovative ferry to operate the connection between the city of Den Helder on the mainland and 't Horntje on Texel. TESO with TotalEnergies* and a number of other partners realised this project. The first crossing of the new ferry on CNG was made in the summer of 2017.    

Request: ‘most sustainable ferry connection’ 

 TESO had expressed the ambition to create the most sustainable ferry connection in the world. The objective for TotalEnergies was twofold: 

  • To make the ferry as efficient, clean and sustainable as possible. 
  • And, at the same time, to guarantee a safe, reliable connection to the mainland.  

Approach: insights through data 

TESO initially thought that a ship sailing on LNG would best meet their requirements and therefore turned to TotalEnergies as its LNG supplier. Insights from in-depth analyses of multi-year data from existing LNG and CNG refuelling stations of TotalEnergies and PitPoint  helped TESO broaden their choice. The positive environmental impact of both alternative fuels prompted TESO to evaluate both CNG and LNG. 

CNG or LNG?  

 To determine whether LNG was really the best option for TESO, we looked at the combination of technology, commercial aspects as well as societal costs and benefits. Sailing on LNG proved not to be optimal for TESO's energy needs, nor was it the most cost-effective solution for them. TotalEnergies then investigated CNG as a fuel for the ferry connection. 

CNG the right alternative fuel solution for TESO 

 Initially, it seemed challenging to realise a CNG solution for TESO, because there was not enough CNG available on Texel. For this reason it was investigated whether the capacity of the natural gas network between Den Helder and Texel could be expanded. This turned out to be feasible and cost-efficient, plus good for the environment. In addition, the choice for CNG makes it possible for the TESO ferry to switch to the sustainable variant of biomethane in the future. 

Innovation project partners 

 Within this innovative and sustainable project, TotalEnergies took on the design, engineering, construction and operation of the CNG bunkering station on Texel. Other partners involved in the project were: maritime classification society Lloyd's Register, marine engineering firm C-Job, shipyard LaNaval, supplier Compressor System Holland, and Umoe, supplier of CNG storage containers. 

Quote Cees de Waal

The first regular ferry crossing on CNG was a milestone for us. By sailing on CNG, we reduce harmful emissions and take an important step towards making shipping more sustainable.

Cees de Waal Director of TESO

The end result 

TESO's “Texelstroom” has been sailing on CNG since the summer of 2017, making it the first ferry in Europe to use this alternative fuel. The energy is generated on board by two dual fuel engines. By sailing on CNG the ferry is cleaner and more economical than other European ferries, most of which still only run on diesel.  

* TotalEnergies acquired PitPoint in 2017. In January 2020, PitPoint was merged into the TotalEnergies organisation. This project was carried out under the brand name PitPoint.