Last updated: 02:21 PM ET, Wed September 14 2016

Hurtigruten Aims To Roll Out Hybrid Ship By 2018

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Hurtigruten | Gabe Zaldivar | September 14, 2016

Hurtigruten Aims To Roll Out Hybrid Ship By 2018

Photo courtesy Hurtigruten

One day you may just hop in your electric vehicle and head on down to the port where you will bid adieu to family dropping you off for a vacation aboard a very fancy electric cruise ship.

We are far closer than ever to that previously absurd thought.

The automotive industry has certainly evolved to a near tipping point when electric motor technology inches to more wide use among consumers. But it’s the shipping industry that is making waves at the moment.

Norwegian explorer cruise line Hurtigruten announced an effort to make that next voyage far more electric and a bit more silent.

It’s announcement states that the cruise line will aim to decrease CO2 and fuel consumption by 20 percent with hybrid technology that leans heavily on classic fuel but establishes electricity as a voyage mainstay far more than it has ever been utilized.

One day its occupants can breathe in the arctic air and enjoy the low hum of technological progress.

The mammoth ships of innovation are being crafted at Norway’s Kleven Yards and make use of technology developed by Rolls Royce.

The announcement explains that the technology will allow what are essentially baby steps on the open waters but that it should one day evolve into a voyage powered fully by electricity.

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Hurtigruten’s statement offers: “Already in the first phase, the new hybrid technology will make sailing with electric propulsion for 15-30 minutes a reality. Still, the total reduction in fuel consumption is the main gain.”

As mentioned, the immediate goal is to rid future expeditions of 20 percent of the normal CO2 load. But that's not a number to be scoffed at.

As the statement continues, this can be a massive contribution to the atmosphere: “This amounts to more than 3,000 metric tons of CO2 per year.”

Hurtigruten notes that there is yet a battery big enough to power an entire journey, but the ones the cruise line has in its designs would be historically significant as the first to run on this kind of technology.

Hurtigruten has plans for two ships that will house 530 beds each with the first being ready for voyage by 2018. As noted, there is an option in place with Kleven for two more ships if the need should arise.

And what’s more remarkable is the cruise line hopes to have an immediate evolution in its own pioneering enterprise. The first ship will head out to sea with a dedication to rid its own voyage of 20-percent of normal emissions.

However, the reports states that the very next ship will boldly cut down emissions even further: “Ship number two is to be built with a fully-fledged hybrid engine that can power the entire ship for longer periods of time and distances, into fjords and most importantly in vulnerable areas.”

At the moment, the technology promises electric-bound trips to polar regions that at the very most will make less use of fuel during small portions of the entire voyage.

It’s akin to your own hybrid car that burns fuel but gets that much-needed assist from an electric motor to seriously cut down on consumption.

When you consider how much fuel consumption a modern liner mandates, 20 percent and beyond is certainly considerable.

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