Hurtigruten Norway has unveiled plans for its first zero-emission ship.
The unveiling comes weeks before the cruise line’s 130th anniversary and was initially announced in March 2022, under the project name ‘Sea Zero.
The first-of-its-kind initiative has revealed early concept plans for the world’s most energy-efficient cruise ship.
The cruise line presented the findings alongside its consortium of 12 maritime partners and research institute SINTEF.
Hedda Felin, the CEO of Hurtigruten Norway, said:
“When we initially announced the ‘Sea Zero’ project over a year ago, we were faced with the challenge of not knowing which technologies would be available to us in 2030.
“Our task was to pave the way for new innovations and enhance existing ones to align with our sustainability objectives.
“While some of these technologies have reached a relatively advanced stage, they still necessitate dedicated research and development to ensure successful implementation within the maritime context.
“On the other hand, certain technologies are still in early development and require fundamental research and thorough testing.
“Following a rigorous feasibility study, we have pinpointed the most promising technologies for our groundbreaking future cruise ships.
“We are committed to delivering a ship that surpasses all others in terms of energy efficiency and sustainability within just a few years.”
Hurtigruten Norway plans for smaller, custom-built ships that leave a positive footprint with zero emissions to both sea and land.
With the first ship ready in 2030, the company plans to transform its entire fleet into zero-emission vessels, it said in a statement.
The company said that only 0.1% of ships worldwide currently use zero-emission technology, and the project aims to drastically improve the greater cruise industry’s sustainability record and future of travel.
Hurtigruten Norway confirms that its future ships will be electric and equipped with batteries that charge in port.
Combining 60-megawatt-hour battery solutions with wind technology, the vessel is expected to feature numerous firsts and improved solutions that do not exist on cruise ships today.
This includes retractable sails with solar panels, artificial intelligence manoeuvring, contra-rotating propellers, and multiple retractable thrusters.
Additional technologies include air lubrication, advanced hull coating, and proactive hull cleaning.
Battery levels will be displayed on the ship’s external sides, while the bridge, is expected to reduce significantly in size following enhanced A.I. maneuvering, mimicking that of an airplane cockpit.
Guests can minimize energy consumption through an interactive mobile app, where they can operate ultra-modern cabin ventilation, as well as measure their own water and energy consumption.
Sea Zero has now entered a two-year phase in which the proposed technologies will be tried, tested, and developed further in pursuit of the final zero-emission ship.
The current research and development phase focuses on battery production, propulsion technology, hull design, and sustainable practices that reduce energy use to an absolute minimum.
Developing new technologies for onboard hotel operations, which can consume up to 50% of the ship’s total energy use, will be crucial to the project’s success.
The goal is a 50% energy reduction compared to Hurtigruten Norway’s current ships.
The company is also currently undertaking one of the most extensive environmental upgrades in European maritime history with its existing fleet.
Two of the seven ships have been upgraded to battery-hybrid-powered ships, with a third to be upgraded this fall.
The five other vessels are being outfitted with various technologies that will cut CO² emissions by 25% and NOx (nitrogen oxides) by 80%.
In 2019, sister company Hurtigruten Expeditions introduced the world’s first battery-hybrid-powered ship, MS Roald Amundsen; the Expeditions arm now has three battery-hybrid ships out of its seven-ship fleet.
The new zero-emission ship is modelled at 135 meters (443 feet) long, with 270 cabins that hold 500 guests and 99 crew.
Just as Hurtigruten Norway has been transporting cargo along the Norwegian coast for 130 years, the new ship will also have a significant cargo hold and transport cars.
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