Dead fish to fuel Norwegian cruise liners

Posted on 21 November 2018

Norwegian cruise ship company, Hurtigruten, plans to harvest dead fish waste to power its cruise liners, in a bid to offer greener leisure travel.

Credit: Hurtigruten Svalbard

In an interview with Cruise Industry News, Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam revealed his intentions to revolutionise the future of cruise liner travel, offering a full leisure experience that is also eco-friendly.

Skjeldam and his team are not concerned about the sustainability of using fish. Acorrding to them, Norway has a thriving fishing, forestry and shipping industry, and the commercial fishing industry’s bio-waste in the form of dead fish parts is a cost-effective and accessible renewable fuel source. The dead fish waste and organic matter from the local forestry industry would be liquefied and the natural gasses harvested in the decomposition process to produce the ship’s fuel.

Credit: Hurtigruten Svalbard

Many marine vessels use Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) which is cheap for operations, but not at all good for the environment. The result is heavy pollution and carbon emissions that speed up climate change.

Hurtigruten plans to convert six of its 17 vessels into hybrid-fuelled ships, and will be introducing three new green cruise liners in the next three years. Its goal is to be as green as possible by 2021 and Skjeldam hopes to operate exclusively on hybrid-fuel sources: LNGs (Liquefied Natural Gas), biogas and electric power from large battery packs.

Batteries would need to be very powerful to help power ships, and require clean gas and renewable energy sources. Fortunately, the Scandinavian company has access to these and the batteries are capable of storing and converting the biogas into electrical energy.

The company has partnered with Rolls-Royce to upgrade and fit all Hurtigruten ships with battery packs. The luxury motor manufacturer has a variety of renewable energy batteries, including a range for marine vessels.

While battery power is cleaner for operations, society is wising up to the still-damaging effects of battery production. What we’ve learnt from the would-be greener future of electric cars is that it’s not all as clean and green as we’d like to believe. Production of batteries, and the sourcing of critical materials for components involve industrial and mining processes that tend to wreak havoc on the environment in the way of carbon emissions and pollution.

Despite the clear eco-focus and Hurtigruten’s 125 year history, revamps of the three new ships will emphasise classic Scandinavian design philosophies of quality and style that is elegant, but not flamboyant. Two of the three new hybrid ships have been named after intrepid Norwegian countrymen – MS Roald Amundsen and MS Fridtjof Nansen.

The cruise company has also banned the use of single-use plastics aboard its fleet in a bid to prevent and counter widespread plastic pollution that affects their prime work environment – the oceans. Hurtigruten cruise ship passengers are known to participate in beach clean-ups, and generally take great interest in conservation and the environment. Some cruise ship expeditions, as they are commonly referred to, involve nature trips with travellers who enjoy exploring the natural environment upon docking.

‘While competitors are running on cheap, polluting heavy fuel oil, our ships will literally be powered by nature. Biogas is the greenest fuel in shipping, and will be a huge advantage for the environment. We would love other cruise companies to follow,’ Skjeldam said.

Hurtigruten’s cruise ships operate in the polar regions and across Europe and the Americas, offering both coastal and exploratory voyage options.

yoast-primary - 1004391
tcat - Environment
tcat_slug - environment
tcat2 - Environment
tcat2_slug - environment
tcat_final -