Hurtigruten Norway Unveils Vision For Zero-Emissions Electric Cruise Ship With Innovative Sails And Solar Panels

Hurtigruten Norway Zero-Emissions Electric Cruise Ship
Hurtigruten Norway Unveils Vision For Zero-Emissions Electric Cruise Ship With Innovative Sails And Solar Panels

Adventure cruise company Hurtigruten Norway has set a pioneering course towards sustainable maritime travel with its ambitious project “Sea Zero,” a groundbreaking zero-emissions electric cruise ship equipped with revolutionary features.

The innovative vessel is set to embark on its maiden voyage in 2030, representing a significant leap forward for the maritime industry’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.

Hurtigruten Norway, known for its fleet of eight ships that navigate the Norwegian coast from Oslo to the Arctic Circle, is striving to revolutionize cruise ship technology with its new venture.

CEO Hedda Felin expressed her hope that this pioneering endeavor will serve as an inspiration for the entire maritime sector.

The design of the “Sea Zero” vessel focuses on combining cutting-edge technology and sustainable solutions to achieve emission-free marine travel.

In collaboration with 12 maritime partners and Norway-based research institute SINTEF, Hurtigruten Norway has been diligently exploring technological advancements that could pave the way for a greener future.

At the heart of the vessel’s design are 60-megawatt batteries that can be charged with clean energy while in port, capitalizing on Norway’s impressive renewable energy capacity, which constitutes 98% of its electricity system.

Gerry Larsson-Fedde, SVP of marine operations for Hurtigruten Norway, estimates that these batteries will provide a range of 300 to 350 nautical miles. For the ship’s longer journeys, the design includes an ingenious solution – three retractable sails adorned with solar panels that will generate additional energy while harnessing the power of the wind.

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These innovative sails, or “wings,” have the ability to adjust independently, adapting to changing wind conditions or accommodating passage under bridges.

Standing at a remarkable height of 50 meters, the sails will feature 1,500 square meters of solar panels that will contribute to powering the vessel while in motion. Furthermore, a streamlined ship design will reduce air resistance, thereby conserving energy.

The “Sea Zero” vessel is planned to accommodate 500 guests in 270 cabins, with room for 99 crew members.

Onboard, passengers will be encouraged to minimize their ecological footprint through an interactive mobile app that monitors personal water and energy consumption.

This holistic approach aligns with Hurtigruten Norway’s commitment to sustainable shipping, offering travelers a conscious and environmentally responsible experience.

The maritime industry’s contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions, amounting to around 3%, has spurred calls for significant change.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO), a UN body that regulates global shipping, introduced a target in 2018 to cut the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least half by 2050.

Hurtigruten Norway’s initiative stands as a significant step towards achieving this goal.

While the “Sea Zero” vessel will incorporate a backup engine for safety reasons, it will operate on green fuels such as ammonia, methanol, or biofuel, distinguishing it from other eco-friendly designs that still rely on fossil fuels.

Hurtigruten Norway’s commitment to sustainable practices extends beyond this project. In 2019, Hurtigruten Expeditions launched the world’s first hybrid, battery-supported cruise ship and is in the process of converting its entire expedition fleet to hybrid battery power.

Over the next two years, Hurtigruten Norway will rigorously test the technological advancements proposed by the “Sea Zero” project.

The final design is slated for completion in 2026, with shipyard production commencing in 2027. The inauguration of the first vessel is projected for 2030, paving the way for Hurtigruten Norway’s aspiration to eventually transition its entire fleet to zero-emission vessels.

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Written by Andrew Walyaula

Multimedia Journalist

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