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Hurtigruten to cruise fjords and fish farms with LBG

With a growing fleet of 17 ships, Norway-headed Hurtigruten AS is the world’s largest expedition cruise line. The company is investing heavily in green technology – and is considered as one of the world’s greenest cruise companies. The next step is powering cruise ships with liquified biogas (LBG) – fossil-free, renewable biomethane gas produced from fishing industry residues and other organic waste.

Norwegian fjords and fish farms – as the first cruise line in the world, Hurtigruten will power some of its ships with liquified biogas (LBG), a fossil-free, renewable fuel produced from residues from the fishing industry and other organic wastes (photo courtesy Hurtigruten).

Renewable biogas is a clean source of energy, considered by many the most eco-friendly fuel currently available. Biogas is already used as fuel in parts of the land transportation sector, especially in buses. Northern Europe and Norway, which has large fishery and forestry sectors that produces a steady volume of organic waste, has a unique opportunity to become world leader in biogas production.

What other see as a problem, we see as a resource and a solution. By introducing biogas as fuel for cruise ships, Hurtigruten will be the first cruise company to power ships with fossile-free fuel, said Daniel Skjeldam, CEO, Hurtigruten.

There are more than 300 cruise ships in the world, many of them running on cheap, polluting heavy fuel oil (HFO). By 2021, Hurtigruten plans to operate at least 6 of its ships on a combination of biogas, LNG and large battery packs.

While competitors are running on cheap, polluting heavy fuel oil (HFO), our ships will literally be powered by nature. Biogas is the greenest fuel in shipping, and will be a huge advantage for the environment. We would love other cruise companies to follow, Skjeldam said.

Cutting single-use plastic – building hybrid vessels

Building on 125 years of Norwegian pioneering heritage, Hurtigruten is today the world’s largest expedition cruise company. The company expects to invest over US$850 million in building the world’s greenest cruise line. After celebrating the 125-year anniversary earlier this year by being the first cruise line to ban single-use plastic, 2019 will mark two green milestones for Hurtigruten:

  • Introduction of the world’s first battery-hybrid powered cruise ship, MS Roald Amundsen, custom built for sustainable operations in some of the world’s most pristine waters such as Antarctica.
  • The start of a large-scale green upgrade project, replacing traditional diesel propulsion with battery packs and gas engines on several Hurtigruten ships.

In addition to liquified natural gas (LNG), these ships will also be the first cruise ships in the world to run on liquified biogas (LBG). The three hybrid powered expedition cruise ships are being built at Norway’s Kleven Yard. MS Roald Amundsen, MS Fridtjof Nansen and the third, unnamed sister vessel, will be delivered in 2019, 2020 and 2021 respectively.

Hurtigruten’s decision to use biogas/LBG from organic waste is the kind of operational solutions we aim for. The waste is refined into fossil free energy. This solution also eliminates the emissions of sulphur, NOx and particles. Hurtigruten has become a symbol of how to put responsibility into action. They have taken several important steps to improve their climate and environmental performance. Now they introduce the use of renewables in the cruise industry and that gives us hope for a change of pace in finding sustainable solution, said Frederic Hauge, founder and General Manager of Bellona Foundation, an NGO.

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