Hurtigruten Norway ready to embark on the next stage of innovative zero-emission ship project

Hurtigruten (logo)After announcing plans to build their first zero emission ship by 2030, Hurtigruten Norway has now secured leading tech partnerships and applied for funds to embark on a research project to develop their groundbreaking zero-emission ships.

Building on almost 130 years of Norwegian pioneering heritage, Hurtigruten Norway started a project to develop ships with zero emissions for the Coastal Express by 2030, their most ambitious sustainability initiative to date. The next step in the ‘Sea Zero’ project ensures that this groundbreaking endeavour is supported by industry-leading partners and appropriate resources.

In collaboration with research institute SINTEF and a number of other partners, the first funding application for the next phase of the project has now been submitted. The importance of this is highlighted by Hurtigruten Norway CEO, Hedda Felin, who points out that being first movers in the industry has its challenges, especially in relation to costs, as today only 0.1% of all vessels globally have zero emissions technology.

“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. 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”, says Felin.

Researching energy efficient ships

In August 2022, a feasibility study looking at possible technology and fuel options for the new ships was completed. It points to testing a range of innovative and new technologies, alongside investigating modern batteries for more environmentally friendly Hurtigruten ships. As only 14 % of global energy today is renewable, and energy is becoming an even more scarce resource, energy efficiency will also be a pillar in the Sea Zero project.

 ”Many people talk about which fuel and propulsion systems you choose, but for us it is equally important to create a ship that uses as little energy as possible and thus has a good range on green electricity. We will therefore have a strong focus on testing a wide range of new technology from rotor sails, air bubble lubrication, to heating pumps and storage for the passenger hotel, “ says Trond Johnsen, Marketing Manager at SINTEF Ocean.

Using leading maritime expertise

An important part of the Sea Zero project has been to get industry-leading partners on board. In collaboration with Hurtigruten Norway, thirteen partners have signed on to the team, who will help develop zero-emission ships customized for the Norwegian coast and 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. In this project the focus will be on the environmental aspects, minimizing 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, Vice President Research & Innovation from VARD.

(Fincantieri Vard, Hurtigruten)