Hurtigruten has announced it is to invest in a hybrid solution for its new ships in a bid to operate fully electric expeditionary ships in the Arctic and Antarctic.
The ships, constructed at Kleven Yards in Norway, will be the world’s first expeditionary ships with true hybrid propulsion, according to the line.
Daniel Skjeldam, CEO of Hurtigruten, said: “The future of shipping is, without a doubt, silent and emission free. We will use our new expeditionary ships as groundbreakers for this new technology and show the world that hybrid propulsion on large ships is possible, today.
“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 the guests. Picture sailing into a fjord silently without any form of emissions.”
The technology, in combination with the construction of the hull and effective use of electricity on board, will reduce the fuel consumption and CO2-emissions from the ships by 20 percent.
This amounts to more than 3,000 metric tons of CO2 per year.
The hybrid solution has been developed by Rolls Royce and Bellona, a non-profit organisation working to meet and fight climate challenges.
Fredric Hauge, founder and president of Bellona, said: “This is an historic day for Norwegian shipping and for Norwegian maritime technology. Battery powered propulsion in ships this size shows that batteries are on board to stay. This represents a huge reduction in emissions from shipping, and it is only the beginning.”
The contract with Kleven includes the construction of two ships with a capacity of 530 beds, and includes an option for two more ships.
The first ship, which launches in 2018, will be equipped with an auxiliary electric engine, while the second will feature a fully-fledged hybrid engine that can power the entire ship for longer periods of time and distances, into fjords and most importantly in vulnerable areas.