Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express has partnered with research organisation SINTEF to create zero emission ships.
When built, they will operate along the Norwegian coast. The first is scheduled to join the fleet by 2030.
“We are excited to announce our most ambitious sustainability initiative to date; creating solutions for zero emission passenger ships, using the Norwegian coast as the ideal case. Our ambition is to sail an emission-free Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express ship by 2030,” confirmed Hurtigruten Group CEO, Daniel Skjeldam.
Hurtigruten is currently upgrading its existing fleet through what is one of the biggest environmental upgrade programmes of it’s kind in Europe, that will see CO2-emissions cut by 25% and NOx by 80%.
Hurtigruten Norway CEO, Hedda Felin, explained: “We have built our last fossil fuelled ship for the Norwegian Coastal Express. When we sail the coastal route for the next 100 years, it will be emission-free, making the world’s most beautiful voyage even more spectacular.”
Norwegian Coastal Express’ route from Bergen to Kirkenes was claimed to be an ideal starting point for the development of zero emission passenger ships.
“We as a group have ships sailing all over the world, and we see that the Norwegian coast is an ideal location for this kind of game changing project, where we can benefit from the innovative Norwegian expertise in green shipping,” Skjeldam added.
Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express is a unique operation as it stops at 34 ports along the Norwegian coast, which means there are good opportunities to use future infrastructure for green energy, as several ports along the route plan to expand shore power connectivity.
Norway’s innovative research and maritime sector and political willingness to support green shipping are also positive factors that make the Norwegian coast a perfect fit for this type of initiative, the company claimed.
SINTEF is one of Europe’s largest independent research organisations.
“With this project, Hurtigruten Norway and SINTEF can show the world that green and sustainable passenger ships can be achieved in the near future. Cutting emissions in the maritime sector is by no means an easy feat, and we need ambitious companies like Hurtigruten Norway to take initiatives like this,” said SINTEF President, Alexandra Bech Gjørv.
This project includes all aspects of a new shipbuilding programme, from design, propulsion, energy and fuel to hotel operations and digital solutions. The goal is that the new ships will be emission-free to both air and sea and also sustainable from a circular economy perspective.
As a partner, SINTEF will provide analysis, research and development.
“The first phase of the project has already been kicked-off and consists of a feasibility study, looking at technological and operational solutions for zero emission Hurtigruten Coastal Express ships on the Norwegian coast,” said SINTEF Ocean Market Director, Trond Johnsen.
In the next phase, maritime industry partners will be invited to participate in taking the project further towards development and qualification of innovative green ship designs and technologies.
“Zero-emission fuels and power systems is an obvious focus area for the project. However, the availability, production cost and energy density of such fuels will require massive cuts in energy usage as well, making energy-efficiency the probable main challenge,” Johnsen added.