Norwegian cruise ship operator Hurtigruten will soon be powering cruise ships using liquified biogas (LBG) fuel. This is a fossil free, renewable gas which will be produced from dead fish and other organic waste.
“What others see as a problem, we see as a resource and a solution. By introducing biogas as fuel for cruise ships, Hurtigruten will be the first cruise company to power ships with fossil-free fuel,” says Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam.
Norway has large fishery and forestry sectors that produce a steady stream of organic waste.
“While competitors are running on cheap and polluting heavy fuel oil (HFO), 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 says.
Hurtigruten is considered one of the greenest cruise ship operators in the world. In July this year the company banned single-use plastic. Apart from powering ships using LBG, the company has other plans for 2019; introducing the world’s first hybrid-electric cruise ship, and initiating a large-scale green upgrade project, replacing traditional diesel fuel with battery packs and gas engines. By 2021, Hurtigruten aims to run at least six of its ships on a combination of LBG, batteries and liquid natural gas.
“Hurtigruten’s decision to use biogas from organic waste is the kind of operational solution we aim for. The waste is refined into fossil-free energy. This solution also eliminates the emissions of sulfur, NOx and particles,” says Frederic Hauge, the founder and general manager of the NGO Bellona Foundation.
The vast majority of the world’s cruise ships continue to run on HFO. According to an investigation by the United Kingdom’s Channel 4 television last year, a single cruise ship can release the same amount of particulate matter into the atmosphere as one million cars in a single day. Often, air quality on deck can also be as bad as the world’s most polluted cities.
Hurtigruten currently expects to invest over $850 million into building the world’s greenest cruise line.