Stena Sphere Challenge

Stena Sphere is searching for novel, cost-effective approaches to reduce low frequency noise (10Hz) created by the exhaust of diesel engines. It's seeking solutions that can be applied to cargo and passenger ships that travel in all of the world’s oceans.

What's the innovation challenge?

The companies comprising the Swedish-based Stena Sphere represent one of the largest private shipping groups in the world. 

Currently, exhaust from 8-cylinder diesel engines creates a low frequency noise in the funnel of our passenger ferries that can cause building vibrations and unpleasant pressure on the ears as ships approach the shore to dock at the pier. During inclement weather, these docking manoeuvers take longer to complete and complaints from nearby residents increase. Can you help provide a novel, cost-effective noise reduction solution?

Routes to consider

Traditional passive noise control systems would require quite large installations to manage the long wavelengths associated with very low frequency noise. Alternative, tunable, active noise control systems are of high interest, as well as any advanced material technologies for noise management.

Evaluation Criteria

Technical viability

Solutions proposed must be based on sound scientific principles and have pilot scale data that demonstrate efficacy. Also, the associated equipment must be able to withstand the harsh environment inside an exhaust stack.

Scale-up potential

Solutions proposed must have a clear pathway to be application on commercial ships. Solutions already practised in marine markets have higher value. The ideal partner would be able to lead the design and installation of full-scale systems.

Capital and operating cost

The cost for any proposed solution should include a full life-cycle analysis (including capital/installation costs, maintenance costs, installation time, etc.)

Ship operations

Solutions should not impact the normal operation of the ship engine. The equipment space and weight must be able to be retrofitted onto existing vessels. Moreover the equipment should not increase back pressure to the point it effects engine performance.


Solutions covered by patents have higher value. At a minimum, proposed solutions must not be prohibited by other patents in the field.

Intellectual property requirements

None required when using exiting solutions, however where Stena takes technology and creates a bespoke applied solution then patents and IP may need to be sought.

Killer issues

Solutions will not be considered if, in Stena’s opinion:

  • Installation and maintenance costs should not be prohibitive for broad application
  • Proposals lack sufficient supporting pilot scale data
  • Solutions don’t adhere to global maritime environmental or safety regulations
  • Solutions would void guarantees from engine suppliers. Approval may be needed.

Closing date is 31 December 2019.

How to apply

Send your questions and proposals to Anne Howatson at Stena