Great Ships of 2018: #3 Future of the Fjords
As the marine industry ponders decarbonization, the world’s first all-electric and completely emissions-free ship, Future of the Fjords delivers.
Future of the Fjords was commissioned as part of the shipowner’s program of fleet renewal with the backing of Fjord1, the largest ferry operator in Norway, and of Flåm AS, the company that promotes tourism in the Flåm area, to provide vessels that deliver optimal passenger experiences with minimal environmental impact.
Constructed by specialist shipbuilder Brødrene Aa, the new vessel retains the eye-catching ‘mountain path’ design and environmentally-friendly build of its sister ship Vision of the Fjords, a hybrid diesel-electric vessel, with a hull that minimizes wake and reduces shoreline impact erosion. The Power Dock, the ship’s revolutionary floating charging station, which was also developed in partnership with Brødrene Aa, takes on gray and black water to ensure no sewage discharge into the pristine waters between Gudvangen and Flåm. Future of The Fjords also offers up to 400 passengers spectacular panoramic views of the western Norwegian fjords, with a guaranteed one meter each of railing on deck for a unique ‘front-row’ experience of nature.
According to The Fjords CEO Rolf Sandvik, the ship’s similarities with Vision of the Fjords stop with its outer design and the scenery on offer to its passengers:
“Under the skin, this new craft is a different beast,” he said. “Vision of the Fjords switches from diesel to electric power when journeying along the UNESCO World Heritage listed Nærøyfjord.
It represented an important step forward on our journey to transform tourism in this delicate natural wonderland, but this new ship is, quite simply, our dream come true. It marks the fulfilment of a vision. It is our mission to safeguard the vulnerable environment we give access to, while providing the absolute optimal experience for our passengers. With Future of The Fjords it is mission accomplished. We now hope Future of the Fjords can become a benchmark for environmentally responsible vessel operators worldwide, ushering in a new breed of clean, green and spectacular passenger transportation.”
Future of The Fjords, which took its first passengers through the UNESCO World Heritage listed Nærøyfjord on May 15 this year, was conceived, developed and constructed through a collaboration between leading industry players, each contributing its individual competencies to provide the key pieces of this environmentally responsible vessel. The new DNV GL classed ‘light craft’ is propelled by two 450 kW electric motors, enabling cruising speeds of 16 knots. In addition to its advanced propulsion system, Future of the Fjords features upgraded IT systems to ensure that the ship meets modern digital demands. The vessel also features a restaurant and high comfort levels.
The ship cost about $17 million, marking a significant increase over the $10.6 million price tag of Vision of the Fjords. Much of the extra investment is the result of opting for an all-electric solution. Enova, an organization promoting low-emissions solutions backed by the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, provided $2.2 million in support of the project.
The Power Dock charging solution developed jointly by The Fjords and Brødrene Aa, is a 40-meter long, 5-meter wide floating glass fiber dock that sits in the water at Gudvangen, housing a 2.4 MWh battery pack. This charges steadily throughout the day via connection to the local grid network, which does not have the capacity to charge Future of The Fjords directly. The innovative solution allows the vessel to stably, efficiently and cost-effectively ‘refill’ in 20 minutes. The Power Dock also stores consumables and fuel for sister vessels, and allows black water to be offloaded for treatment on land. This makes Future of The Fjords the only passenger vessel not to discharge sewage directly into the fjords.
Future of The Fjords Technical Specs
Name Future of The Fjords
Type Zero Emission Ferry
Shipbuilder Brødrene Aa
Owner The Fjords
Building material Carbon-fiber sandwich/ Vinylester
Vessel type Passenger catamaran
Flag NOR Fartsområde 2
Class DNVGL 1A1 HSLC R5 Passenger
Passenger capacity 400
IMO Number 9830214
Length o.a. 42.49 m
Length p.p. 40.85 m
Beam o.a. 15.2 m
Gross tonnage 770
Fresh water 1x 3000 liter
Gray water 1x 2000 liter
Black water 1x 3000 liter
Bilge water 1x 200 liter
Main engines (Electrical) 2x Ramme 450 kW
Propulsion system Servogear Ecoflow Propulsion
Reduction gearbox Servogear HD220
Bowthruster 2x Sleipner SAC350
Stern thruster 2x Sleipner SAC450
Battery installations ZEM – 1800 kWh Lithium ion
Power management Westcon Power & Automation
Anchor system MB Hydraulikk 1-AV-24K2 /
Gangways Brødrene Aa