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Aug 2, 2019,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

Norway: world’s first hybrid propulsion cruise ship to explore the Arctic

The MS Roald Amundsen is the world’s first hybrid propulsion cruise ship and emits 20 per cent fewer emissions than conventional liners. The ship will operate along the Norwegian coast and up to Spitsbergen and Greenland.

Photo credits: MS Roald Amundsen/Hurtigruten

Iconic Norwegian cruise operators Hurtigruten have just launched what is the world’s first hybrid propulsion cruise ship, as reported by Le Parisien. Named the MS Roald Amundsen, the vessel operates mostly on liquefied natural gas but can also switch to battery power, which, according to the company, will reduce fuel consumption by around 20 per cent.

Silent and more environmentally friendly

When seas are calm, the ship can sail on nothing but electrical energy for nearly an hour. “The system is designed to absorb excess energy produced by the engines and store it in the battery when the ship doesn’t need it and then resupply it to the engine when the ship does need it,” explained Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam, who hailed what he described as the start of “a new chapter in maritime history”.

The MS Roald Amundsen will operate along the Norwegian coast and up to Spitsbergen and Greenland, where it will not have the option of charging its batteries. “Obviously we are not expecting our ships to operate on batteries alone,” added Skjeldam. “They can sail for up to 18-20 days in areas where there are no charging stations.”

A technological revolution?

Such is Hurtigruten confidence in the technology that it has placed an order for another hybrid ship, which will be delivered later in the year. The new ship will be fitted with a battery unit with twice the capacity of that of the MS Roald Amundsen. “We foresee a revolution in ship battery technology, with lighter and more efficient batteries,” the company announced.

The technology is certainly welcome, given the ongoing climate emergency. With more than 7 million passengers in 2018, the cruise industry is growing fast, while attracting regular criticism in the process for its high emissions. As Le Parisien reported, a cruise ship carrying 3,000 passengers generates as much pollution each day as 15,000 cars.

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Cover photo pictures: BreakingTravelNews/Flickr

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