Hurtigruten Norway to launch first zero-emission cruise ship in 2030

Battery-powered vessel to have a retractable sail with solar panels and an AI-powered manoeuvring system

Hurtigruten Norway to launch first zero-emission cruise ship in 2030

Vard Design

Hurtigruten Norway’s new Sea Zero ship will have a streamlined hull and a retractable sail with solar panels

By Rebecca Gibson |

Hurtigruten Norway is to launch its first zero-emission cruise ship in 2030 and also plans to convert the entire fleet to operate without emissions over time.

Codenamed Sea Zero, the new 500-passenger ship will be fully electric and operate with 60-megawatt batteries that will be recharged with energy derived from renewable sources while berthed in port. In addition, the 135-metre-long vessel will have 164-foot retractable sails with solar panels, contra-rotating propellors, multiple retractable thrusters and a manoeuvring system powered by artificial intelligence.

The new AI manoeuvring system will enable Hurtigruten Norway to significantly reduce the size of the ship’s navigation bridge, while insights from the data it generates will help to improve docking operations. Meanwhile, the vessel‘s streamlined shape will help to reduce both air resistance and energy use, which will also increase passenger comfort.

Onboard highlights will include 270 cabins, public spaces with expansive windows and ample outdoor space. Guests will be able to use an interactive mobile application to operate their cabin ventilation system and also measure their water and energy consumption while onboard the ship. 

“When we initially announced the Sea Zero project over a year ago, we were faced with the challenge of not knowing which technologies would be available to us in 2030,” said Hedda Felin, CEO of Hurtigruten Norway. “Our task was to pave the way for new innovations and enhance existing ones to align with our sustainability objectives. While some of these technologies have reached a relatively advanced stage, they still necessitate dedicated research and development to ensure their successful implementation within the maritime context. 

“On the other hand, certain technologies are still in the early stages and require fundamental research and thorough testing. Following a rigorous feasibility study, we have pinpointed the most promising technologies for our ground-breaking future cruise ships. We are committed to delivering a ship that surpasses all others in terms of energy efficiency and sustainability within just a few years.” 

Hurtigruten Norway is also working on what it describes as “one of the most extensive environmental upgrades in European maritime history”. To date, it has converted two of its existing vessels to operate with battery hybrid power and will upgrade a third ship this autumn. It is also outfitting five vessels with various technologies that will cut emissions of carbon dioxide by 25 per cent and nitrogen oxide by 80 per cent.

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