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Hurtigruten to upgrade up to nine ships to gas-electric power

Vessels to switch from diesel to gas and be fitted with battery power.

The Hurtigruten ship M/S Polarlys at anchor in Tromsoe harbor. Image credit: Bernt Rostad Flickr CC BY 2.0

Updated on 20 Apr 2018 17:32 GMT

Norwegian expedition cruise operator Hurtigruten has signed a letter of intent with Rolls-Royce for a major upgrade programme to hybrid gas-battery power.

The main engines on six cruise ships will switch from diesel to gas power and the upgrade will also encompass the installation of a hybrid battery system. The deal includes the option for a further three vessels.

The agreement specifies that Rolls-Royce is to deliver two of its Bergen B36:45L&PG gas engines as the main engines to each ship as well as battery power.

The propulsion system is planned to also feature the Promas system, which combines rudder and propeller into one fuel-efficient unit.

According to Rolls-Royce, the upgrade will enable the former diesel-powered ships to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 25 percent.

Hurtigruten was recently awarded licenses by the Norwegian Government for seven out of 11 coastal ferry routes. The year-round service, on the renowned passenger and cargo route from Bergen in the southwest to Kirkenes in the north, has 34 stops. One of the key requirements from the Government of the route's operator was a reduction in CO2 emissions.

Astrid Opsjoen, Rolls-Royce, Vice President Product Sales & Advanced Offerings, commented: "Hurtigruten is planning an upgrade with our newest and most environmentally efficient engine, powered by natural gas. This is another great innovation from our engine factory in Bergen, where we have more than ten years of experience of powering ships purely by gas. Together with other new energy system installations, Hurtigruten will make its older ships work as efficiently and environmentally as if they were new."

Daniel Skjeldam, CEO of Hurtigruten, said: "This is an investment for the future, and a historic day for us, for the environment and for the whole, long Norwegian coastline. The combination of battery packs with the most environmentally friendly and effective gas engines in the market will provide a huge gain for the environment."

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