Hurtigruten Norway Unveils First Zero-Emission Cruise Ship

Hurtigruten Norway unveiled plans for its first zero-emission ship. Initially announced in March 2022 under project name “Sea Zero,” early concept plans and renderings for the energy-efficient cruise ship following its first year of research have been revealed. Hurtigruten Norway presented the findings alongside its consortium of 12 maritime partners and research institute SINTEF, all joined in the pursuit of achieving emission-free marine travel.

With 0.1 percent of ships worldwide currently using zero-emission technology, Hurtigruten Norway’s project aims to improve the cruise industry’s sustainability record and future of travel. The cruise line’s future, electric ships will be equipped with batteries that are charged with renewable energy while in port. Combining 60-megawatt batteries with wind technology, the ship is expected to have numerous firsts, including retractable sails with solar panels, artificial intelligence maneuvering, contra-rotating propellers and multiple retractable thrusters.

Battery levels will be displayed on the ship’s exterior, while the bridge, where the captain and crew steer the ship, is expected to reduce in size following enhanced AI maneuvering, mimicking that of an airplane cockpit. Retractable, autonomous wing rigs will comprise 16,146 square feet of solar panels and a wind surface of 8,073 square feet, reaching a maximum height of 164 square feet when extended. The streamlined shape results in less air resistance, reducing energy use. Guests will also minimize their energy consumption via an interactive mobile app.

To enter Norwegian waters by 2030, the vessel must enter shipyard production in 2027, with new-build finalization starting in 2026. The current R&D phase focuses on battery production, propulsion technology, hull design and sustainable building practices that reduce energy use to a minimum. Developing new technologies for onboard hotel operations, which can consume up to 50 percent of the ship’s total energy consumption, will be crucial.

The zero-emission ship is modeled at 443 feet long, with 270 cabins that hold 500 guests and 99 crew. As the line has been transporting cargo along Norway’s coast for 130 years, the new ship will also have a cargo hold and transport cars.

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