Norled and Color Line have boosted their aims to electrify their fleets after joining a zero-emission ferry project that will result in a new electrical system that has a more efficient power output and is cheaper to run.
The two Norwegian ferry operators have joined Rolls-Royce and Norwegian Coastal Administration for the project.
Both Norled and Color Line are using this project as a stepping stone to increase use of electric power within their fleets.
“Our aim is to gradually reduce the emissions produced by our fleet of car and high-speed passenger ferries and become the first Norwegian operator with 100% zero emissions. We are well underway with electrification on our short ferry routes but are waiting for technology to become mature enough to be able to cover longer stretches.” said Norled deputy chief executive Lars Jacob Engelsen.
While Color Line superintendent automation and control Johann Martinussen said the company wants to “ensure that we cover a larger proportion of our energy consumption from ‘green’ onshore power rather than fossil fuels”.
Programmes like this will make electric power more available and attractive to ferry and cruise operators, especially as this is not just a design – rather the intention is to follow up with three full-scale installations. And Rolls-Royce said that one of the aims is to be able to use the system on large cruise ships, not just ferries.
Cruise operator Hurtigruten has been very open about its belief in battery power and is building two hybrid ships.
At a recent Immediasea event in London where industry leaders discussed whether the cruise industry was putting the environment at risk, Hurtigruten vice president of global communications Rune Thomas Ege said “Batteries are a no-brainer, they save fuel, emissions and money.”
He summed up “We firmly believe that the future is electric.”
And could it be that more of the expedition cruise industry will follow in Hurtigruten’s footsteps? After all, Mr Ege said that while previously the expedition cruise industry has not been “very adventurous” about seeking new solutions or technology, “that is about to change, and it is very important for Hurtigruten to be at the forefront of this”.
Surely batteries will be considered by others in the expedition cruise industry, particularly as Hurtigruten is paving the way.
Advances in battery technology means that it is easier for cruise and ferry operators to use this technology. Marine batteries now have a more moderate charge and discharge rate and a longer life expectancy.