At the start of its 130-year history, Hurtigruten has unveiled plans for its first carbon-free ship, marking an important step in the sustainable development of the cruise industry.
The impressive project, announced as ‘Sea Zero,’ proposes the world’s most energy-efficient submarine, developed in collaboration with a team of 12 partners and the SINTEF research institute.
The Vision Behind the Project
Hurtigruten Norway has released its plans to launch its zero-emission ships. The project was first announced under the name of the ‘Sea Zero’ project in March 2022 and presents the initial concept of what could be the world’s most energy-efficient submarine.
The CEO of Hurtigruten Norway, Hedda Felin, reflected on the ambitious vision of the ‘Sea Zero’ project.
“When we announced the ‘Sea Zero’ project a year ago, we faced the challenge of not knowing what technology would be available in 2030. Our mission was to open up new opportunities and expand existing ones to make them fit our sustainability goals,” according to Felin.
“While some of these technologies have reached their peak, they still require dedicated research and development to ensure they are successful at sea. On the other hand, some technologies are still in their infancy and require significant research and testing,” Felin added.
Felin’s statement also mentioned the challenges that the alliance faces, with technologies of different types of development and various obstacles that must be overcome before it can be achieved.
Hurtigruten aims to convert all of its ships to zero-emission ships by 2030, the largest segment in the world where only 0.1% of ships use zero-emission technology.
Like companies strive for stability, the ‘Sea Zero’ process can be a way to improve the design of environmentally friendly ships. Although it is unlikely that submarines will ever be electric, advances in technology will allow engineers to find better, more sustainable solutions than what exists today.
Revolutionizing Cruise Ship Design
Hurtigruten Norway’s upcoming ships are planned to include 60-megawatt battery packs and wind technology. They have demonstrated many new features, such as retractable sails with solar panels, artificial intelligence, and rotating propellers. Other special features include advanced hull coating, air conditioning, and quick cleaning of the hull.
Future ships, equipped with batteries that charge in port, will use AI to collect data to efficiently dock and load at each port of call, and improve performance under adverse weather conditions. The ships will also have independent wings with solar panels and wind tops, which will help reduce their emissions.
The Research and Innovation Manager at VARD, Henrik Burvang, who is in charge of the display, spoke about the new design.
“The revolutionary design, with its new equipment and driving methods, not only reduces the need for energy but also increases the comfort of the ride. In the meantime, we are developing new production equipment and seeing new technology for the use of energy,” he said.
Apart from technological advancements, these ships focus on providing an unparalleled experience to their guests. The first zero-emission train was designed to have a streamlined design to reduce emissions, reduce energy consumption and increase comfort.
The design has ample outdoor space and large windows, allowing guests to enjoy stunning views of what is often referred to as ‘the most beautiful beach in the world.’
The 135 meters (443 feet) long ship was designed to accommodate 500 guests and 99 crew members in 270 cabins.
The Sea Zero project has entered a two-year phase of testing and developing the proposed technologies. It focuses on reducing energy by 50% compared to Hurtigruten Norway’s latest ships. This includes increasing the energy efficiency of the hotels, which consume half of the ship’s total energy.
The company is also doing one of the biggest environmental upgrades with its existing fleet. It has already upgraded two of its seven fleets to hybrid power and batteries, and the third is scheduled for refit later this year. The rest of the fleet has technology to reduce CO² emissions by 25% and NOx (nitrogen oxides) by 80%.
The unveiling of the first zero-emissions cruise ship comes after the first zero-emission journey to MSC Euribiaculminating in Copenhagen today, June 7.