On Wednesday, Norwegian cruise line company Hurtigruten revealed plans for a ship that is the first of its kind to be zero-emissions. The electric-powered cruise ship will feature retractable sails with solar panels to harness energy from the wind and sun while storing it in powerful batteries.
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Although only 0.1% of Norway’s Hurtigruten ships currently use zero-emission technology, the company is planning a radical overhaul.
Its first concept, “Sea Zero,” is expected to be the most energy-efficient cruise ship in the world. company revealed at the beginning The project was launched last March as part of its ambition to become a leader in sustainable travel.
Its first electric cruise ship, set to launch in 2030, will combine 60 megawatt-hour battery packs with several industry firsts to harness wind and solar power while at sea for a truly zero-emissions experience.
For example, the company plans to include three independent, retractable sails with added solar panels. Winged rigs are designed to enhance aerodynamics, pulling air currents up to 50 meters high for added thrust.
Hurtigruten says that during the summer, “the ship will have the miraculous power of the midnight sun in northern Norway that shines 24 hours a day.”
The three retractable wings will house 1,500 square meters (16,146 square feet) of solar panels with a total wind surface of 750 square meters (8,073 square feet).
Renewable energy from the sails or the cargo port is stored in the ship’s giant 60 MWh battery storage system. There’s even an indicator on the side of the bowl to show the battery level. The company says it is looking for battery chemicals that are free of cobalt and with minimal nickel to keep costs down.
Enhancing energy efficiency
With dozens of sensors, cameras, and AI maneuvers in place, the company says the bridge can be scaled down to size and set up like an air cockpit.
The design enhances aerodynamics and gives guests more living space and areas to enjoy the views.
To reduce drag underwater, the two thrusters at the stern would retract into the hull while cruising. Meanwhile, the company is developing an underwater air-lubrication system to allow the electric ship to “surf” on a carpet of bubbles.
Hurtigruten says its guests will play an integral role in reducing energy consumption with data-driven solutions that allow them to control and monitor energy usage directly from their smartphone.
The solar-powered electric cruise ship concept is 443 feet long and is slated to host 500 passengers across 270 cabins.
Sea Zero is still in its early stages of research and development as Norwegian Cruise Line prepares for a launch by 2030. Over the next two years, the company will test and develop the proposed technology as it works toward the final design.
For now, the focus is on battery production, propulsion technology, chassis design, and other sustainable practices that can reduce energy consumption.
Hurtigruten says developing new technology for the ship’s hotel operations, which account for up to 50% of the ship’s total energy use, will be critical to the ship’s success. The company aims to reduce power by 50% compared to current models.
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