Norwegian Ferry Operator Orders Zero-Emission Vessels

Norwegian ferry operator Boreal Sjö has ordered two zero-emission battery powered ferries to help move the country further towards sustainable shipping.

The Finnish manufacturing company Wärtsilä Marine was awarded a contract to design and build two zero-emission battery powered ferries for Boreal Sjö that will be built at the Holland Shipyards in the Netherlands.

The two vessel designs have been made to be similar, but not identical. The first design is for a 30m long vessel capable of carrying ten cars and 100 passengers, whereas the second ferry is going to be 50m long, with the capability to carry 35 cars and 149 passengers, including crew.

Each ferry will supply batteries, thruster motors, battery charging equipment, back-up generators and various other electrical systems, with the design incorporating full optimization of electrical consumption. The equipment is scheduled to arrive at the Holland Shipyards in early 2021, and the ferries are expected to be built for autumn the same year.

René Zuidam, account manager for Wärtsilä, said: “This project is an excellent example of Wärtsilä’s expensive capabilities in delivering optimal design and integrated equipment solutions. These battery-powered ferries represent the future in environmental sustainability, and their design is the result of the years of R&D that Wärtsilä has invested in smart marine solutions to lower the carbon footprint of shipping.”

Boreal Sjö offers passenger and cruise services, with ferries serving Launes, Kvellandstrand, Abelnes and Andabeløy.

Still, Boreal Sjö is not the only Norwegian ferry operator thinking about sustainability and environmental protection.

Norwegian ship company, Norled, made history back in 2014 after the debut of its car ferry the MV Ampere, the world’s first car ferry to run on battery electric. This environmentally-friendly ferry currently operates between Lavik and Oppedal in Norway.

The Norwegian Public Roads Administration plans to have all ferries run on pure electric propulsion by 2030, and many shipowners have taken up this challenge and started ordering their own zero-emission ships.

Moreover, the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association has agreed to commit to an ambitious plan that will see the entire Norwegian fleet become carbon-neutral by 2050. Its main goals include cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50%, only ordering ferries with zero emissions from 2030, achieving climate neutrality by 2050, and banning fuels that are not climate neutral by 2050.

They are hopeful that by 2022, there will be so many electric ferries operating in Norway that the annual emission scale will be cut drastically, leading to a healthier future for ocean life.