Hybrid Electric-Powered Cruise Ship Makes History in Antarctica

(Photo: Hurtigruten’s hybrid electric-powered MS Roald Amundsen. Credit: Hurtigruten)

by | Nov 15, 2019

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Hybrid Electric-Powered Cruise Ship Makes History in Antarctica

(Photo: Hurtigruten’s hybrid electric-powered MS Roald Amundsen. Credit: Hurtigruten)

Norwegian coastal cruise operator Hurtigruten introduced what the company says is the world’s first hybrid electric-powered expedition ship this year. Recently the cruise ship MS Roald Amundsen completed its first voyage to Antarctica.

Named after the Norwegian explorer known for traversing the Northwest Passage by sea in the early 1900s, MS Roald Amundsen arrived in Chiriguano Bay on Brabant Island, Antarctica, for a naming ceremony on November 7. The voyage to Antarctica had 431 passengers, Forbes reported.

Hurtigruten’s cruise ship has low-emission Rolls Royce engines that use low-sulfur diesel and large battery packs, Business Insider explained. The company says that the hybrid electric power reduces carbon dioxide emissions by more than 20%.

When the cruise line first ordered two new hybrid-powered expedition ships for delivery this year, Hurtigruten said that MS Roald Amundsen and MS Fridtjof Nansen would reduce CO2 emissions by 6,400 metric tons per year compared to traditional ships.

On September 10, MS Roald Amundsen landed in Nome, Alaska, and became the first hybrid electric-powered expedition ship to traverse the Northwest Passage sea route.

Hurtigruten isn’t alone in trying to tackle cruise ship emissions. Several years ago, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Carnival Group began investing in liquefied natural gas (LNG) to power ships. Last year, Norwegian cruise operator the Fjords announced plans to add an all-electric passenger vessel to its fleet.

In August, Carnival signed a deal to use onboard battery systems for its German brand AIDA. In October, the company began piloting the world’s first fuel cell system for large passenger vessels.

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