To uphold a responsible tourism industry, electrification of sea and road transport will be one of several essential measures. Demonstrating successful electrification on a large scale could also pave the way for low-emission transport alternatives more broadly – especially within shipping.
Low-emission cruise tourism
Hurtigruten is launching MS Roald Amundsen, the first of a series of hybrid-battery powered expedition cruise ships. A sister ship, MS Fridtjof Nansen, is currently under construction at Norway’s Kleven Yard, and will be introduced in 2020. A third ship is planned for 2021.
Hurtigruten’s ground-breaking ships employ the same hybrid technology, which – combined with increased fuel efficiency and other green technology – will reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions by more than 20 per cent. The powerful battery packs will allow the vessels to operate entirely emission-free during short periods of time, with room set aside to expand battery capacity and add new technology.
On top of the hybrid technology, the ships are designed to let guests travel as sustainably as possible to some of the world’s most spectacular destinations, such as Antarctica, South America, the Caribbean, Greenland, Svalbard and the Norwegian coast. They feature no single-use plastic, improved waste management and recycling, and custom-built expedition equipment, including a fleet of Blueye underwater drones.
Siemens has supplied the propulsion system for the world’s first electric fishing boat. The solution saves fuel, reduces maintenance costs, and is broadly applicable.
A new fishing cutter called the Karoline has been developed by boat builder Selfa Arctic AS. The boat’s main propulsion system is an electric motor that gets its energy from a set of batteries. When the boat is in port at night, its batteries are recharged with electricity from the local grid. As a precautionary measure, the boat is also equipped with an efficient diesel engine and an electric generator. This combined propulsion system was jointly developed by Siemens and Selfa. Siemens supplied the propulsion technology, including the electric motor, the batteries, the generator, and the control unit for the entire system.
Karoline’s home port is Tromsø in Norway, where the boat has been going out to sea since early October. Fishermen find it less strenuous to work on the Karoline than on conventional boasts, because the electric motor doesn’t produce exhaust gases, vibrations, and the noise associated with diesel engines.
Electric boats are especially advantageous in Norway, because the country generates its electricity exclusively from renewable sources, thus emitting no greenhouse gases. Norway’s fishing fleet could cut its fuel consumption by 80 percent if all of its boats were fitted with electric motors. The amount of fuel involved is considerable, given that the fishing fleet currently consumes about 400 million liters of diesel per year. This would go a long way toward achieving the Norwegian government’s goal of cutting the country’s CO2 emissions by 40 percent.
Fishing cutters can be in operation for up to 12 hours per day. But most work days last only about eight hours and the Karoline’s batteries are powerful enough to cover this. However, if the batteries’ charge level drops below a certain value, the cutter’s diesel engine and generator, each of which has 60 kilowatt (kW) of output, automatically kick in to produce power for the electric propulsion system.