Norway funds development of hydrogen-fuelled ferries

Malcolm Latarche

Malcolm Latarche · 17 December 2018


A new project by Norwegian shipbuilder Havyard and the related Havila Kystruten ferry operator to develop hydrogen powered long distance ferries has been granted NOK 104.3 million by Pilot-E a consortium of the Research Council of Norway, Innovation Norway and Enova.

The Havyard Group has been engaged in systematic development work and digitalisation to create greener vessels with ever decreasing energy consumption and environmentally harmful emissions. Now they have taken this work a step further through the project FreeCO2ast. Kristian Steinsvik, head of Havyard’s R&D work, said that the project aims to develop a high-capacity hydrogen fuel cell energy system and to start using it on board one of Havila Kystruten’s coastal route vessels.


With hydrogen energy, Kystruten’s vessel can sail half the coastal route from Bergen to Kirkenes without any emissions whatsoever. This means that the voyage through UNESCOS’s World Heritage Fjords will be totally emission-free. The system will be installed on board and be in operation by the end of 2022.

‘With FreeCO2ast, we want to create a technology involving hydrogen and batteries that enables large vessels to sail with zero emissions over long stretches and at high speed. Through this, we can offer our customers energy-efficient and environmentally friendly vessels, at the same time as we help to meet the UN’s goal of halving shipping emissions. And we will do it almost thirty years before the goal of 2050!’

Havyard Group is drawing on the electrical, automation and shipbuilding expertise of the whole group in the project, from Norwegian Electric Systems, Havyard Design & Solutions to Havyard Ship Technology. The research institutions Sintef Ocean and Protech are also partners in the project.

In March this year, Havila Kystruten won the government contract to operate four cruise ferries on the route between Bergen and Kirkenes. The contract to design the new LNG-fuelled ships which will have batteries installed was awarded to Havyard Design & Solutions. In September, the build contracts were awarded to Turkey’s Tersan and Spain’s Astillero Hijos de J Barreras which will each build two of the vessels.

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