Following the announcement of plans to build the company’s first zero emission ship by 2030, Hurtigruten Norway has now secured major technical partnerships.
The coastal ferry and expedition cruise ship operator has also applied for funds to embark on the research project aimed at developing these zero-emission ships.
Hurtigruten has started the project for its Coastal Express service. However, Hurtigruten Norway CEO, Hedda Felin pointed out that being first movers had its costs.
“The cost of going first is always higher than copying others a few years later. However, our environment is running out of time, and Hurtigruten Norway and our partners want to do our part and lead the way to zero emissions,” she said.
Felin said that only 0.1% of all vessels globally have zero emissions technology today, and that the cruise industry is often seen as lagging behind with environmental action.
“The progress towards sustainability in the cruise industry has been too slow, simply put. Consumers will not continue to accept the use of heavy fuel oil or climate targets that are way behind the Paris Accord. Zero emission ships are the game-changer the cruise industry need,” Felin added.
She explained that Hurtigruten Norway, in collaboration with research institute SINTEF and other partners are on track with their Sea Zero-project involving the development of zero-emission ships customised for the Norwegian coast, and have submitted the first funding application for the next phase.
“We have included a team of companies that can make the historic Hurtigruten ships emission-free and help make Norway a leader in green shipping. Now we hope to secure support for a major research and development project to create the technology and ship design that is needed,” said Trond Johnsen, SINTEF Ocean’s Chief Market Developer.
Last August, a feasibility study looking at possible technology and fuel options for the new ships was completed. It pointed to modern batteries as an interesting choice for more environmentally friendly Hurtigruten ships.
As only 1/7th of the global energy today is renewable, and energy is becoming an even more scarce resource, energy efficiency will be a pillar in the Sea Zero project. SINTEF’s scientists and engineers will examine all of the systems and equipment in the new ship design to ensure each ship consumes the least energy possible.
An important part of the Sea Zero project was to persuade industry-leading partners to get on board. Thirteen companies have signed up to the scheme thus far, which will help pioneer new solutions for the industry.
“VARD is proud to be a part of the Sea Zero project and to support Hurtigruten and the project team in the search for the optimal zero emission coastal cruise ship. We will build upon resent years experience in designing and building state of the art expedition cruise ships for the most demanding conditions.
“The project’s focus will be on the environmental aspects, minimising the overall impact for a sustainable coastal cruise – an important mission we are highly motivated to pursue and a natural building block in our ZeroClass portfolio,” said Håvard Lien Vollset, VARD’s Vice President Research & Innovation.