Climate protection projects

During the past decade, we have already implemented a number of significant climate protection and carbon reduction projects, but our tireless work never ceases and a number of new activities are currently already in the pipeline.These will contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases. We are thus taking responsibility for our own CO2 emissions and financing various measures and projects.

Overview of sustainability enhancements and climate protection projects

This list highlights some of achievements to this date:

  • In order to ensure energy efficiency and eliminate unnecessary transports, we use local suppliers and regional partners, wherever possible.. 
  • Since 2017 we have offset the carbon emissions of our large motor vessel Diamant, making the vessel’s operation completely carbon-neutral. In order to compensate the carbon emissions of MS Diamant on Lake Lucerne, we have supported the myclimate project «Clean drinking water through modern filter systems». Since 2017, this project has helped eliminate 2955 tons of carbon pollution in Uganda. 
  • We have continuously converted the source of power generation on our historic paddle steamers from steam turbines to modern generators, thus reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions by about one third.
  • Our modern ferry MS Bürgenstock uses an innovative, custom-designed hybrid propulsion system. In the Bay of Lucerne, this system allows the ship to run entirely in electric mode, before switching to the diesel engines later on. This means that about half the journey between Lucerne and Kehrsiten-Bürgenstock can be made without generating emissions. Once the diesel engines are switched back on, they help re-charge the electric batteries. MS Bürgenstock has been in regular service since 2018.
  • In 2021, we started using local bike couriers in Lucerne, thus eliminating the need for countless car transfers inside the city. We have calculated that to date, this switch has saved over 20 000 km by car!
  • Since 2023 we have started to calculate the carbon emissions from our printing activities and have decided to compensate these emissions by supporting new climate protection projects.
  • Bicycles were purchased for errands in 2022. This eliminates the use of cars for short journeys and is an ecologically sensible means of transportation.
  • The interior lighting of the steam boats Gallia and Schiller was converted to LED in 2023, with additional ships to follow.
  • The waste heat recovery of the steam boats Uri, Gallia, and Unterwalden was implemented in 2023.
  • A photovoltaic system was installed on the roof of the shipyard in the summer of 2023.
  • We have been awarded the ESG2Go certification! ESG2GO is an easily applicable sustainability rating and reporting system, specifically designed for SMEs to measurably improve and transparently communicate their strategies in the areas of Environment (E for Environment), Social (S for Social), and Governance (G for Governance) stability. Here you can find our certificate and reporting >>
  • We are part of the pioneering project to promote hydrogen mobility in Switzerland! Together with EWA-energieUri, Axpo Group & Schätzle AG, we are focusing on innovative solutions for a sustainable future. Further information can be found in the following media release February 2024 from Axpo.

Planned fleet enhancements

Progress is continuous and we are always looking for new ways to reduce our carbon footprint and make our fleet more sustainable. Currently we are implementing the following measures or evaluating such options.

  • Conversion of the historic motor vessel Rütli (built in 1929) to electric propulsion. This refit is planned in 2023/24, with an intended relaunch of the vessel in spring 2024. SGV AG will invest CHF 1.2 million.
  • From summer 2026, we plan to run our motor vessel Saphir on hydrogen.  H2UriAG's hydrogen production plant at the Bürglen hydropower plant is scheduled to go into operation at the beginning of 2025.
  • As a replacement for the fuel oil currently used in steamships, Shiptec AG and SGV AG, together with the start-up Synhelion, which emerged from ETH Zurich, are investigating the use of a synthetic fuel produced from solar energy. Synhelion's solar fuel only releases as much CO2 into the atmosphere as is consumed in its production. It is chemically similar to fossil fuels and would be compatible with the historic technology used on steamships. The first commercial production plant for Synhelium is scheduled to go into operation by 2026.
  • We are currently evaluating the suitability of synthetic fuels for both our motor vessels and paddle steamers.