Adventure cruise company Hurtigruten Norway revealed plans for a zero-emissions electric cruise ship with retractable sails covered in solar panels, which is due to set sail in 2030.
The design will run predominantly off 60 megawatt batteries that can be charged in port with clean energy, as renewables account for 98% of Norway’s electricity system. Gerry Larsson-Fedde, SVP of marine operations for Hurtigruten Norway, who came up with the idea of a zero-emission ship, estimates that the batteries will have a range of 300 to 350 nautical miles, meaning that during an 11-day round trip, one liner would have to charge around seven or eight times.
To reduce reliance on the battery, when it’s windy, three retractable sails – or wings – will rise out of the deck, reaching a maximum height of 50 meters. They can adjust independently, shrinking to pass under bridges or changing their angle to catch the most wind, explains Larsson-Fedde. He adds that the sails will be covered in a total of 1,500 square meters of solar panels that will generate energy to top up the batteries while sailing – and the battery levels will be displayed on the ship’s side.
“In Norway, although it can be dark sometimes in winter, we still have sun in the south. And we have sun 24 hours a day in the summer. We will be super-powered by the midnight sun on top of everything else,” he says.
The ship will be fitted with 270 cabins to hold 500 guests and 99 crew, and its streamlined shape will result in less air resistance, helping to further reduce energy use. On board, guests will be invited to minimize their own climate impact through an interactive mobile app that monitors their personal water and energy consumption.
Over the next two years, Hurtigruten Norway will test its proposed technologies before finalizing the design in 2026, and aims to begin shipyard production in 2027. The first vessel is due to enter Norwegian waters in 2030. After that, the company hopes to gradually transform its entire fleet to zero-emission vessels.
Image: CNN/VARD Design