The switch to partial electric propulsion means the vessels will sail without emissions for 15-30 minutes in these fragile environments. The company says, however, that the total reduction in fuel consumption – around 20% - will mean around 3,000 metric tons of CO2 per year less is emitted due to other efficiencies such as hull design and better use of electricity onboard.
“The future of shipping is, without a doubt, silent and emission free,” said Hurtigruten chief executive Daniel Skjeldam. “We will use our new expeditionary ships as ground breakers for this new technology and show the world that hybrid propulsion on large ships is possible today.”
Rolls Royce and Bellona, a non-profit organisation working to meet and fight climate challenges, have developed the engine technology. The first ship will be delivered in July 2018 and the second a year later.
The new ships represent the largest single investment in Hurtigruten’s history and both will have a capacity of 530 beds. The first, which sails in 2018, is equipped with an auxiliary electric engine whilst 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 vulnerable areas. The contract includes an option for two more ships.
“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,” added Skjeldam.