The ‘Zero Emission Ferry’ project, granted NOK 5.9 million from the Research Council of Norway’s ENERGIX programme, is intended to result in a new electrical system that not only provides more efficient power output and stable operations, but is cheaper to run, easier to integrate – and has a lower environmental impact. That is no mean feat aboard a ship, which typically has a hybrid system that is a thousand times larger than a hybrid passenger car.

“Our aim is to gradually reduce the emissions produced by our fleet of car and high-speed passenger ferries, and become the first Norwegian operator with 100 per cent zero emissions. We are well underway with electrification on our short ferry routes, but are waiting for technology to become mature enough to be able to cover longer stretches,” says Lars Jacob Engelsen, Deputy CEO at Norled.

The Norwegian Coastal Administration Shipping Company was one of the first Norwegian shipowners to use batteries on board the multifunctional vessel OV Bøkfjord.

The Marine division of Rolls-Royce is the consortium’s technology partner, and will provide both financial and man power. The objective is to develop a system that is commercially attractive for shipowners and as environment-friendly as possible.

“The aim is for the entire system or its component parts to be capable of use on both short-haul car ferries and big cruise ferries. Norway is far out in front with regard to green shipping, and we see an international export potential for these kinds of systems,” says Sigurd Øvrebø, General Manager Product Electric and Power at Rolls-Royce - Marine.

Established in 2013, ENERGIX is a 10-year programme under the auspices of the Research Council of Norway. The programme aims to provide new knowledge that promotes the long-term and sustainable conversion of existing energy systems to ones based on more energy-efficient solutions using a higher proportion of renewable energy, that provide greater integration with Europe and meet the need for greater flexibility. The programme covers both stationary energy systems and environment-friendly energy for transport purposes.

"We want to exploit the energy on board more efficiently, reduce the operating time for our onboard machine park and ensure that we cover a larger proportion of our energy consumption from ‘green’ onshore power rather than fossil fuels,” says Johann Martinussen, Color Line’s Superintendent Automation & Control.