Hurtigruten Builds Hybrid Ships

We are in the process of building new expedition ships in partnership with Rolls-Royce® that will use a new and environmentally sustainable hybrid technology.

Our new ships will reduce the fuel consumption by approximately 20%. For the first time, fully electric propulsion on a passenger ship will be possible.

The decision to invest in a hybrid solution is an important milestone in our goal of sailing fully electric expedition ships in the Arctic and Antarctic. The ships, constructed at Kleven Yards in Norway, will be the world’s first expedition ships with true hybrid propulsion.

The future of maritime travel 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,” says CEO of Hurtigruten, Daniel Skjeldam. 

Saves 3,000 Tons of CO2 Per Year

This new hybrid technology will make sailing with electric propulsion for 15–30 minutes a reality – but the total reduction in fuel consumption is the main gain. This technology, in combination with the construction of the hull and effective use of electricity on board, will reduce the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 20 percent. This amounts to more than 3,000 metric tons of CO2 per year. A passenger ship requires an enormous amount of energy to operate, and so far, there have been no technologies able to fulfill the requirements of a fully electric ship. Our new ships will likely be the first in the world to utilize this advanced technology.

The hybrid solution was developed by Rolls-Royce. Bellona, a non-profit organization working to meet and fight climate challenges, has been central to the project. “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,” says founder and president of Bellona, Fredric Hauge. 

The Sound of Silent Fjords

The new ships represent the largest singular investments in Hurtigruten’s history. The contract with Kleven includes the construction of two ships, each with a total capacity of 530 passengers, and includes an option for two more ships.

The hybrid ships will to be constructed in two phases. The first ship, which will be ready in 2018, will be equipped with an auxiliary electric engine that will reduce the CO2 emissions by 20%. The second ship will  be built with a full-fledged hybrid engine that can power the entire ship for longer periods of time and across greater distances, into fjords, and most importantly, in vulnerable areas. 

“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,” says Skjeldam.

The investment in new technology will cost a total of 124 million NOK. Enova, a Norwegian government enterprise responsible for promotion of environmentally friendly production and consumption of energy, will be contributing 45.1 million NOK to the project. 

About the hybrid technology

  • Makes fully electric propulsion an option for longer periods of time.
  • New battery technology contributes to a significant reduction of CO2 from ships.
  • New solutions will contribute to a 20% reduction of fuel consumption. In total, the two new ships will have a reduced CO2 emission of 6,400 metric tons per year compared to traditional ships. To put this into perspective, 6,400 metric tons is the same amount of yearly emissions created by 5,540 new cars.
  • The technology will be developed in two phases:
    • Phase 1: A battery-powered auxiliary engine will provide large reductions in fuel consumption related to ‘peakshaving’. This solution will be installed on the first expedition ship, which will be ready in 2018.
    • Phase 2: If the technology is ready, large batteries will be installed that provide the possibility of fully electric sailing across longer distances and over longer periods of time. This propulsion will be used when sailing into fjords, at port, and in vulnerable areas. The goal is to install this technology in ship number 2, scheduled for release in 2019. We will also refurbish the first ship with the same technology.

About the ships

  • Specially constructed for voyages in polar waters.
  • Designed by Rolls-Royce and are constructed by Kleven Yards
  • Number of passengers per ship: 530
  • Strengthened hulls for traversing ice
  • Number of cabins: 265
  • Dimensions (exterior): Length 459 feet, width 77 feet, height 95 feet
  • Depth: 17 feet
  • Delivery schedule: The first ship is to be delivered in July 2018, the second ship is to be delivered in July 2019
  • Adapted for the service route along the Norwegian coast.

About Hurtigruten and the Hurtigruten fleet

Hurtigruten has traveled the Norwegian coastal route since 1893. The company brings tourists, local passengers, and gods to 34 ports along the unique Norwegian coast between Bergen and Kirkenes  every day of the year. Hurtigruten expedition ship MS Fram sails in Antarctica, around Spitsbergen, and to Greenland. Starting in fall of 2016, MS Midnatsol will be sailing to Antarctica. Hurtigruten’s newest expedition ship, MS Spitsbergen, was put into service along the Norwegian coast in 2016 and will be sailing to the Arctic starting in 2017.

 Read more about Hurtigruten adding new ships to its fleet. 

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