Remains from fisheries and other organic waste will soon be used to power Hurtigruten’s fleet of green cruise ships
Hurtigruten, the world’s largest expedition cruise operator, has invested heavily in green technology, including battery solutions, and is considered the world’s greenest cruise company.
Their next step: Powering cruise ships with liquefied biogas (LBG)—fossil-free, renewable gas produced from dead fish and other organic waste.
“What others see as a problem, we see as a resource and a solution. By introducing biogas as fuel for cruise ships, Hurtigruten will be the first cruise company to power ships with fossil-free fuel,” Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam says.
Renewable biogas is a clean source of energy, considered the eco-friendliest fuel currently available. Biogas is already used as fuel in small parts of the transport sector, especially in buses. Both Northern Europe and Norway, the latter of which has large fishery and forestry sectors that produce a steady volume of organic waste, have a unique opportunity to become a world leader in biogas production.
“While competitors are running on cheap and polluting heavy fuel oil (HFO), our ships will literally be powered by nature. Biogas is the greenest fuel in shipping and will be a huge advantage for the environment. We would love other cruise companies to follow,” Skjeldam says.
After celebrating their 125-year anniversary by being the first cruise line to ban single-use plastic, 2019 will mark two green milestones for Hurtigruten:
- The introduction of the world’s first hybrid-electric powered cruise ship, MS Roald Amundsen, custom built for sustainable operations in some of the world’s most pristine waters such as Antarctica.
- The start of a large-scale green upgrade project, replacing traditional diesel propulsion with battery packs and gas engines on several Hurtigruten ships.
In addition to liquified natural gas (LNG), these vessels will also be the first cruise ships in the world to run on liquefied biogas (LBG). By 2021, Hurtigruten plans to operate at least six of its ships using biogas and batteries, combined with LNG.
“Hurtigruten’s decision to use biogas from organic waste is the kind of operational solution we aim for. The waste is refined into fossil-free energy. This solution also eliminates the emissions of sulfur, NOx and particles,” Frederic Hauge, Founder and General Manager of the NGO Bellona Foundation says.
There are more than 300 cruise ships in the world, many of them running on cheap and polluting HFO. The daily emissions from one single mega cruise ship can be equivalent to one million cars.
“Hurtigruten has become a symbol of how to put responsibility into action. They have taken several important steps to improve their climate and environmental performance. Now they are introducing the use of renewables in the cruise industry and that gives us hope for a change of pace in finding sustainable solutions,” Hauge says.
Hurtigruten is currently building three hybrid electric-powered expedition cruise ships at Norway’s Kleven Yard. MS Roald Amundsen, MS Fridtjof Nansen, and the third, unnamed sister, will be delivered in 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively.
Hurtigruten expects to invest more than 850 million USD in building the world’s greenest cruise line.
“This is just the beginning. Hurtigruten is the world’s largest expedition cruise line, and that comes with a responsibility. Sustainability will be a key driver for the new era of shipping and the travel industry. Hurtigruten’s unmatched investments in green technology and innovation set a new standard for the whole industry to follow. Our ultimate goal is to operate our ships completely emission-free,” Skjeldam says.
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