The new hydrogen-powered ferries will begin operating in October 2025
Norwegian ferry line Torghatten Nord has started developing two hydrogen-powered ferries for its Vestfjorden route between Lofoten and Bodø in Norway.
The project is part of the line’s plan to replace similar-sized, fossil-fuel powered ferries in its fleet to enable it to comply with the Norwegian government’s initiative for all vessels operating on the Vestfjorden crossing to be emission free.
“This is important climate technology that is already in use in the Norwegian maritime sector,” said Torkild Torkildsen, managing director of Torghatten Nord. “For us, it is an important point that through Vestfjorden we contribute to the further development of technology and the building of further expertise in this area in Norway. Here we contribute both to innovation and industrial development, to creating jobs, and to a better climate and environment in Bodø and Lofoten.”
The new vessels have been designed by The Norwegian Ship Design Company and will each have capacity for 599 passengers and 120 cars.
“We at The Norwegian Ship Design Company are both happy and humbled to participate in the wonderful journey of realising the hydrogen ferries, that represent ground-breaking, new zero-emission technology on a scale that no one else in the world comes close to,” said Gjermund Johannessen, CEO of the company.
SEAM will provide electrical onboard installations and PowerCell will deliver its hydrogen fuel cell solution PowerCellution Marine System 200. The fuel cells will be delivered in winter 2024 and will produce around six megawatts of power each, allowing Torghatten Nord to operate using a minimum of 85 per cent hydrogen and 15 per cent biofuel.
The project was approved in principle by Lloyd’s Register in August 2022 and aims to reduce the line’s carbon emissions by 26,500 tonnes per year.
“We are proud to be Torghatten’s partner in this ground-breaking project,” said Gunvald Mortvedt, CEO of SEAM. “Together, we will show that it is possible with hydrogen vessels on a large scale, and that the technology and expertise to implement this can be found in Norway. This is a new and important step to ensure zero emissions in the Norwegian ferry fleet.”
SEAM will make use of its hydrogen fuel cells and systems laboratory, which it tests propulsion solutions in including fuel cells in combination with batteries, board packages, electric motors and propellers.
“This is a ground-breaking project not just for PowerCell or Norway, but also for the entire marine industry, and one that we are very happy and proud to be part of,” said Richard Berkling, CEO of PowerCell. “Norway led the development in the introduction of LNG in the marine industry and now the country is taking an important step to establish green hydrogen as a clean energy source for our hard-to-abate sector. The transition to electrification and emission-free energy is accelerating and is supported by supranational initiatives such as the European Union’s Green Deal and the large-scale investments to reach the Paris Agreement.”
Torghatten Nord plans to begin operating the ferries in October 2025.
“Our Norwegian partners are at the forefront of both the design and development of energy-efficient ships and technology, and this project will greatly contribute to important competence development in maritime, electrical, automation and engineering fields,” said Eirik Olsen, operations director at Torghatten Nord.