OSLO, NORWAY - “We are excited to announce our most ambitious sustainability initiative to date; creating solutions for zero-emission passenger ships, using the Norwegian coast as the ideal case. Our ambition is to sail an emission-free Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express ship by 2030,” said Hurtigruten Group CEO Daniel Skjeldam.
Since its start in 1893, Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express has carried local passengers, goods, and tourists between 34 ports – in what is known as the most beautiful voyage in the world.
The company is currently upgrading its existing fleet through what is one of the biggest upgrade programs in European shipping, which will see CO2 emissions cut by 25% and NOx by 80%. The company aims to be a leader in sustainable travel, and Hurtigruten Norway CEO Hedda Felin makes it clear that the goal is zero emissions.
“We have built our last fossil-fueled ship for the Norwegian Coastal Express. When we sail the coastal route for the next 100 years, it will be emission-free, making the world's most beautiful voyage even more spectacular,” said Hedda Felin.
The Norwegian coast as an ideal location
The Norwegian Coastal Express route from Bergen to Kirkenes is an ideal starting point for the development of zero-emission passenger ships.
“We as a group have ships sailing all over the world, and we see that the Norwegian coast is an ideal location for this kind of game-changing project, where we can benefit from the innovative Norwegian expertise in green shipping,” added Skjeldam.
Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express holds a unique position along the coast as it stops at 34 ports, which means there are strong opportunities to use future infrastructure for green energy, and several ports plan to expand shore power connectivity. Norway’s strong research and maritime industry and political willingness to support green shipping are positive factors that make the Norwegian coast a perfect fit for this type of initiative.
Research institute SINTEF on board
The Norwegian research institute SINTEF is on board from the start. SINTEF is one of Europe’s largest independent research organizations, which holds the world’s leading professional environments within green maritime technology and energy systems.
“With this project, Hurtigruten Norway and SINTEF can show the world that green and sustainable passenger ships can be achieved in the near future. Cutting emissions in the maritime sector is by no means an easy feat, and we need ambitious companies like Hurtigruten Norway to take initiatives like this,” said SINTEF President Alexandra Bech Gjørv.
The project includes all aspects of a new ship build program, from design, propulsion, energy and fuel to hotel operations and digital solutions. The goal is that the new ships will be emission-free to both air and sea, and sustainable from a circular economy perspective. As a partner, SINTEF will provide analysis, research and development.
“The first phase of the project has already been kicked-off and consists of a feasibility study, looking at technological and operational solutions for zero-emission Hurtigruten Coastal Express ships on the Norwegian coast,” said SINTEF Ocean Market Director Trond Johnsen.
In the next phase, leading maritime industry partners will be invited to participate in taking the project further towards the development and qualification of innovative green ship designs and technologies.
"Zero-emission fuels and power systems is an obvious focus area for the project. However, the availability, production cost and energy density of such fuels will require massive cuts in energy usage as well, making energy efficiency the probable main challenge," said Johnsen.
“We are proud to partner with SINTEF Ocean to pioneer the new solutions needed. In order to transform high ambitions into actual results, coupling our knowledge of the coast with SINTEF’s expertise is a key factor,” said Hurtigruten Norway CEO Hedda Felin.