Hurtigruten Builds Hybrid Ships

13 September 2016

The Norwegian explorer cruise line, Hurtigruten, is building new expedition ships using a new and environmentally sustainable hybrid technology. The chosen solutions will reduce fuel consumption by approximately 20 percent. For the first time, fully electric propulsion on a passenger ship will be possible.

Daniel SkjeldamSeattle, WA - The decision to invest in a hybrid solution is an important milestone in Hurtigruten’s goal of sailing fully electric expeditionary ships in the Arctic and Antarctic. The ships, constructed at Kleven Yards in Norway, will be the world’s first expeditionary ships with true hybrid propulsion.

“The future of shipping is, without a doubt, silent and emission free,” says CEO of Hurtigruten, Daniel Skjelda. “We will use our new expeditionary ships as groundbreakers for this new technology and show the world that hybrid propulsion on large ships is possible.”

Saves 3000 tons CO2 per year

Already in the first phase, the new hybrid technology will make sailing with electric propulsion for 15-30 minutes a reality. Still, the total reduction in fuel consumption is the main goal. The technology, in combination with the construction of the hull and effective use of electricity on board, will reduce the fuel consumption and CO2-emissions from the ships by 20 percent. This amounts to more than 3000 metric tons of CO2 per year. A passenger ship requires enormous amounts of energy to operate, and so far, there have been no technologies able to fulfil the requirements of a fully electric Hurtigruten ship. Hurtigruten’s new ships will probably be the first in the world.

The hybrid solution is developed by Rolls Royce. In addition, Bellona, a non-profit organisation working to meet and fight climate challenges, have been central in the project and feel that this is a milestone event.

“This is an historic day for Norwegian shipping and for Norwegian maritime technology,” says founder and president of Bellona, Fredric Hauge. “Battery powered propulsion in ships this size shows that batteries are on board to stay. This represents a huge reduction in emissions from shipping, and it is only the beginning.”

The sound of silent fjords

The new ships, represent the largest singular investments in the history of Hurtigruten. The contract with Kleven includes the construction of two ships with a capacity of 530 beds. The contract includes an option for two more ships.

The hybrid ships are to be constructed in two phases. The first ship, which will be ready in 2018, is equipped with an auxiliary electric engine, which will reduce the CO2 emissions by 20 percent. The second ship is to be built with a fully-fledged hybrid engine that can power the entire ship for longer periods of time and distances, such as into fjords and most importantly in vulnerable areas.

“To be able to sail using only electrical power is not only a great benefit for the environment, but it will also enhance the impact of experiencing nature for the guests,” added Skjeldam. “Picture sailing into a fjord silently without any form of emissions.”

The investment in new technology will have a total cost of 124 million NOK. Enova, a Norwegian government enterprise responsible for promotion of environmentally friendly production and consumption of energy is contributing to the project with 45.1 million NOK.