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Why Hurtigruten’s investment in hybrid technology is the start of a revolution

Hurtigruten’s new environmentally sustainable ships can give tourism a new dimension, according to the environmental organization Bellona.

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Since 1893, the Hurtigruten ships have offered a popular means of travelling along the long Norwegian coastline, and more recently they’ve expanded into operating expedition voyages worldwide.

Right now at Kleven wharf, they are building their first two expedition ships with hybrid propulsion. Hurtigruten plans to launch the ships in 2018 and 2019, and they’ll run on electric power as well as fossil fuels.

This hybrid technology is developed by Rolls Royce and is described as a milestone in Norwegian shipping and Norwegian maritime technology.

The non-profit environmental organization Bellona have been a part of the project, and are clear about one thing – that this is just the beginning:

“Green shipping and green tourism goes hand in hand,” says Sigurd Enge at Bellona to Visit Norway.

Hurtigruten
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Hurtigruten.
Photo: Trym Ivar Bergsmo
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Hurtigruten.
Photo: Trym Ivar Bergsmo

The ships will be able to switch between fossil fuel and electric power when they are traveling through environmentally sensitive areas. The first of the expedition ships will launch in 2018 and will be equipped with a power unit that engages electric propulsion for 20–30 minutes.

These ships use a lot of fuel, and the technology in combination with the construction of the hull, and effective use of electricity on board, will reduce the total CO2 emission with 3000 tons per year.

“With this technology, you can get closer to the attractive tourist experiences such as eagle and whale safaris”, says the press contact at Bellona, Ellen Viseth.

Hurtigruten’s CEO Daniel Skjeldam agrees:

“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 our guests. Picture sailing into a fjord silently, without any form of emissions.”

Hurtigruten
Credits
Hurtigruten.
Photo: Peter Wand

Credits
Hurtigruten.
Photo: Peter Wand

Bellona says the symbolic effect in Hurtigrutens choice to equip ships with batteries and focus on electric propulsion cannot be ignored by the rest of the shipping business.

This new technology in the Hurtigruten ships is being developed with 41 million kroner in support Enova.

“This is the first time ships of this size are being launched with the possibility of pure electric propulsion. This can be a door opener for similar solutions not only for cruise ships across the world, but also in the coastal fleet where the combination with shore power is even more relevant”, says the Enova CEO, Nils Kristian Nakstad, in a press release.

Enova have supported the development of the new technology with NOK 41 million Norwegian.

And by the way, earlier this year the world’s first hybrid ship of its kind, Vision of the Fjords, won the award for ship of the year at the maritime fair SSM in Hamburg.

The ship sails between Flåm and Gudvangen, through the magnificent, UNESCO World Heritage area, the Nærøyfjord.

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