Norwegian ferry operator Torghatten Nord has signed a contract with the Norwegian Public Roads Administration to operate hydrogen ferries between Bodø and Lofoten from 2025. The work to be done towards the first ferry trip will gain great importance in Norway and the world, and offer business opportunities locally.
Torghatten Nord will build two new hydrogen vessels designed by Norwegian Ship Design for operation at the start of the contract on 1 October 2025. Crossing the Vestfjorden between Bodø on the mainland and three islands in Lofoten involves a close to 100 km open ocean crossing above the Arctic Circle and is considered Norway’s most challenging ferry crossing. The two ferries currently operating the routes will be converted from using LNG to use biofuels, and they will accompany the new ferries in the summer tourist season. The two hydrogen fuelled ferries will operate year-round and will daily require 5-6 tonnes of hydrogen and It is required that only “green” hydrogen is used.
The new contract will give a significantly increased passenger and vehicle capacity, which means a lot for inhabitants and businesses depending on these lifeline routes. The new ferries will be about 120 m long and with capacity to carry 120 cars and 599 passengers.
“I am proud that Torghatten Nord will develop and operate hydrogen ferries on Norway’s longest and most weather-exposed ferry route. We are now given responsibility for a world-class climate project that opens concrete and exciting opportunities for green sea transport globally, new industry in Norway and local business. But everything we do from ground-breaking work must be based on safety, operational stability and good travel comfort for our passengers,” said CEO of Torghatten Nord, Torkild Torkildsen.
Torghatten Nord points out that the pioneering work that is now being started to develop and operate The hydrogen ferries will have ripple effects for the Norwegian hydrogen industry, the maritime industry and for Lofoten as a tourist destination.
“We are investing in hydrogen now, but there is no one to sell to. We become the first major buyer of hydrogen in Norway, thanks to the Norwegian Public Roads Administration’s and the government’s climate-offensive decisions. This also provides significant opportunities for the shipyard and equipment industry to participate competence development in the use of hydrogen as an energy source. For tourism, the hydrogen ferries will also be a unique opportunity to take the tourism investment and the international brand Lofoten one step further, said Torkildsen.