Make your travels around Åland as eco-friendly as possible
Ålanders are working on making travel to and from the island more eco-friendly. Distances are short in Åland and it’s easy to get around on foot or by bicycle.
Åland has decided to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by at least 60 per cent by 2030 compared with 2005. A lot of changes are needed in society for this target to be achieved. The bus companies Williams Buss and Viking Line Buss have switched to renewable diesel for provincial and town buses, Åland Post’s fleet of vehicles intends to do the same, and there are taxi operators that are investing in electric cars and hybrids.
Charging points for electric cars
There are charging points for electric cars all around Åland. The website www.elbil.ax has a map showing the charging points.
Åland’s cycle network is being extended all the time and there are convenient and safe cycle routes alongside many of the main roads on the island.
As regards services around the archipelago, there are electric-powered ferries included in the planning process. The Government of Åland is working primarily towards establishing an electric-powered ferry between mainland Åland and the archipelago municipality of Föglö.
Petrol from fish trimmings
The sights in Mariehamn are close to one another and can easily be seen on foot, but in the summer you can take a sightseeing tour on the minirailway Röde Orm. The train runs on biofuel that is produced from fish trimmings in the Åland municipality of Eckerö. This is where a fish farmer found a way of extracting fish oil from fish and refining it into a fuel that works in diesel vehicles. There is also a mini-train that runs on fuel from fish trimmings in the summer in Eckerö, and the service that operates for most of the year between Järsö, Mariehamn and the Maxinge shopping centre has a bus that fills up as often as possible with the environmentally friendly fuel.
Boats that run on natural gas
Most people travel to Åland by ferry. The passenger shipping companies are working hard to reduce their climate footprint, and as regards sulphur emissions, these have been practically eliminated in recent years as the amount of sulphur permitted in fuel today may not exceed 0.1 per cent by weight.
The shipping companies are also striving to recycle waste, and they never release waste water into the sea. Non-toxic antifouling bottom paint is used on ships’ hulls and efforts are made to reduce carbon emissions by energy-efficient operation and with various technical solutions such as rotor sails and modified propeller blades.
Eco-friendly marine fuels are on the up and Viking Line’s newest ship the ‘Viking Grace’ runs between Stockholm, Åland and Turku on sulphur-free LNG natural gas. In 2021 the ‘Grace’ will be joined on the route by another ship running on LNG as Viking Line will be launching its new climate-smart ship there.