Six Hurtigruten cruise ships will be powered by batteries, LNG and LBG from 2021 (Image: Ulf Hansson/Hurtigruten)
Norway-based expedition operator Hurtigruten plans to become the first cruise company in the world to power cruise ships using fossil-free liquified biogas (LBG) fuel from 2021.
LBG can be produced using cutaways from fisheries and other organic waste, making it the most environmentally friendly fuel available today. The fuel is already being used for small applications in the transport sector, such as for operating buses, and Hurtigruten plans to use the steady volume of organic waste produced by Norway’s (and Northern Europe’s) large fishery and forestry sectors to run its vessels.
“What others see as a problem, we see as a resource and a solution,” said Daniel Skjeldam, Hurtigruten CEO. “While competitors are running on cheap, polluting heavy fuel oil, our ships will literally be powered by nature. Biogas is the greenest fuel in shipping and will be a huge advantage for the environment. We would love other cruise companies to follow.”
Initially, Hurtigruten will use LBG to power the six ships that will be retrofitted with battery packs and gas engines between 2019 and 2021. The vessels will then be able to run on battery power, LBG and LNG, which will reduce emissions of sulphur oxide, nitrogen oxide and other harmful particles.
“Hurtigruten's decision to use biogas from organic waste is the kind of operational solutions we aim for,” said Frederic Hauge, founder and general manager of the NGO Bellona Foundation. “Hurtigruten has become a symbol of how to put responsibility into action. The company has taken several important steps to improve its climate and environmental performance. Now, it has introduced the use of renewables in the cruise industry and that gives us hope for a change of pace in finding sustainable solutions.”
Hurtigruten has also embarked on several other new initiatives to reduce its impact on the environment. This July, the company banned single-use plastic on all vessels and onshore sites and it is currently building the world’s first battery-hybrid powered expedition cruise ships at Norway’s Kleven Yard. Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen will be delivered in 2019 and 2020, while a third unnamed sister will be completed in 2021.
In total, Hurtigruten expects to invest more than US$850 million to build the “world’s greenest cruise line”.
“Hurtigruten is the world’s largest expedition cruise line and that comes with a responsibility,” said Skjeldam. “Sustainability will be a key driver for the new era of shipping and the travel industry. Hurtigruten’s unmatched investments in green technology and innovation sets a new standard for the whole industry to follow. Our ultimate goal is to operate our ships completely emission free.”
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