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Posted on May 07, 2018

Norway's fjords, first zero emission zone at sea

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The Norwegian Parliament has resolved that cruise ships and ferries will sail free of emissions in Norwegian world heritage fjords as soon as technically possible and no later than 2026. They say the decision will have positive effects on local people, and tourism, the environment and climate, and the maritime industry. For more information see the IDTechEx report on electric boats and ships.
 
"For the first time in the world there is a need for emission-free sailing in the fjords and the ports there. Norway has long been in the world of emission-free ferries driven by good political decisions on zero-emission requirements. Now we take a new step within the green shift at sea, which gives global reverberation. Nationally, this will provide valuable development of emission-free solutions to many tourist ships, we cut out major greenhouse gas emissions, and we prevent harmful local air pollution," says leader of the environmental foundation ZERO, Marius Holm.
 
The maritime industry also commends the decision. CEO of NCE Maritime CleanTech, Hege Økland, says the decision is very important for the industry. "The use of the public procurement power in ferry tenders, which imposes strict energy efficiency requirements and emissions, has made Norway a world-leading maritime supplier industry for low and zero emissions solutions. This decision can secure our industry's position in this area so that Norwegian business is strengthened, jobs are created and that we can contribute to good solutions globally," says CEO Hege Økland.
 
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The decision the Parliament adopted reads as follows: "The parliament calls on the government to implement requirements and regulations for ship-ship discharges and other shipping traffic in tourist resorts, as well as other suitable means to ensure phasing-in of low and zero emissions solutions in the shipping industry until 2030, including introducing requirements for zero emissions from tourist ships and ferries in the world heritage fjords as soon as possible and no later than 2026."
 
The fjords can attract 300,000 cruise passengers a year and the high traffic has led to high air pollution becoming a major problem for both tourists and residents. Measurements show that air pollution in the countryside in periods is so high that it can be harmful to health.
 
"The tourists come to see pure nature, not fjords filled with exhaust. Norway also has an international responsibility for managing our world heritage sites. We have long been looking for concrete measures, and are therefore very pleased with this decision on emissions-free fjords," says director of the Geirangerfjord Verdsarv Foundation, Katrin Blomvik.
 
Meanwhile, after a comprehensive test program Future of the Fjords has been delivered from Brødrene Aa to the owner and operator The Fjords. Future of the Fjords, a 42m long carbon fibre 400 pax all-electric catamaran, will begin operation in mid-May, making around 700 yearly round trips along the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage listed fjord route between Flåm and Gudvangen. It is the first vessel of its kind to offer completely emission free transport through the Western Norwegian landscape.
 
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Future of the Fjords is the first vessel from Brødrene Aa without a combustion engine propulsion system. The boat will instead be powered by two electric engines of 585 horsepower each, which will receive power from a battery pack of 1800 kWh. This represents about 40 times the capacity of a typical electric car. The installation makes it possible for the vessel to operate at a speed of 16 knots for 30 nautical miles before the boat must be recharged.
 
Owner and operator, The Fjords, also believes that the vessel sets new standards for environmentally responsible passenger transport. "It is our mission to safeguard the vulnerable environment we give access to, while providing the absolute optimal experience for our passengers," says Rolf Sandvik, CEO of The Fjords. "Vision of The Fjords was an important development for us, but we had the ambition to take it one step further and replace the diesel electric propulsion with all-electric - thus eradicating all noise and emissions to air for the entire route. Future of The Fjords does just that, minimising its impact on the environment while maximising the experience of passengers who can now glide silently over the water and come closer to nature than ever before. Taking this delivery is a very proud day for us, and for our progressive owners Fjord1 and Flåm AS. The Future has arrived!"
 
Source: ZERO, Brødrene Aa
Top image: Brødrene Aa
Learn more at the next leading event on the topic: Electric Vehicles: Everything is Changing. USA 2018 External Link on 14 - 15 Nov 2018 at Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, USA hosted by IDTechEx.