Plans for expedition cruise company Hurtigruten Norway’s first zero-emission cruise ship, complete with 60 megawatt-hour batteries, retractable sails with solar panels, and artificial intelligence maneuvering to eliminate emissions, have been revealed weeks before the company’s 130th anniversary.
The project Sea Zero was initially announced in March 2022 but has now shown early concept plans for what could be considered the world’s most energy-efficient cruise ship.
The project aims to drastically improve the future of travel and the cruise industry’s sustainability record, as only 0.1% of ships worldwide are currently using zero-emission technology. By combining 60 MW batteries with wind technology, the ship will feature retractable sails with solar panels, artificial intelligence maneuvering, contra-rotating propellors, and multiple retractable thrusters.
Battery levels will be displayed on the exterior of the ship, and the bridge, where the captain and crew steer the ship, is expected to reduce in size due to enhanced artificial intelligence maneuvering that will mimic an airplane cockpit.
A total of three autonomous, retractable wing rigs will have 16,146 square feet of solar panels as well as a wind surface of 8,073 square feet, reaching a height of 164 feet when extended. This streamlined shape results in less air resistance, therefore reducing energy use.
Guests on the ship will be able to minimize their own energy consumption by operating cabin ventilation and measuring their own water and energy consumption through an interactive mobile app. Large surface areas with dedicated windows will allow guests to view the coastline.
The Cruiseline’s Sustainable Outlook
Hedda Felin, CEO of Hurtigruten Norway, said the company has pinpointed promising technologies for future cruise ships and is committed to delivering a ship that exceeds others in terms of energy efficiency and sustainability within a few years.
The cruise line’s future electric ships will have batteries that are charged with renewable energy while in port. They will also use artificial intelligence to collect data that will learn the most efficient docking and undocking methods for each port, which will improve in-port operations in challenging weather.
Hurtigruten Norway presented its findings, after a year of research, alongside 12 maritime partners and the research institute SINTEF, all of which aim to achieve emission-free marine travel. The current research and development phase of the ship is focusing on battery production, propulsion technology, hull design, and sustainable building practices that reduce energy use. The company’s goal is a 50% energy reduction compared to its current ships.
The ship is planned to enter production in 2027 to be launched by 2030. It is modeled to be 443 feet long, with 270 cabins that will hold 500 guests and 99 crew members. It will also have a cargo hold and transport cars.