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Mayukh Saha
Mayukh Saha
May 1, 2024 ·  4 min read

Plans for Electric Cruise Ship Revealed To Set Sail in 2030

Hurtigruten Norway, an adventure cruise company, recently revealed its plans for a zero-emission electric cruise ship that would have retractable sails. Solar panels will cover the entirety of the ship, and the cruise could set sail in 2030. The company currently owns a fleet of eight different ships, each with a capacity of 500 passengers, that would travel from Oslo to the Arctic Circle- passing through the Norwegian coast. Although the firm is quite small for an adventure cruise company, Hedda Felin, the CEO, has hoped that this innovation “can inspire the entire maritime industry.” The project, which bears the name “Sea Zero”, had a previous announcement in March 2022. Ever since then, Hurtigruten Norway- along with 12 other maritime partners and SINTEF- a research institute based in the country, has been going through multiple technological solutions that would help one achieve emission-free marine travel.

The result will be an electric cruise ship that will run on 60-megawatt batteries. The batteries would recharge in port with extremely clean energy, as renewables account for 98% of the electricity system in Norway. The SVP of marine operations for Hurtigruten Norway, Gerry Larsson-Fedde, came up with the idea of a ship that has zero emissions, which estimates that the batteries will have a range of 300 to 500 nautical miles, which implies that during an 11-day round trip- where the one-liner will have to change seven or eight times.

A computer-rendition of what the electric cruise ship should look like.
Image Credits: VARD Design

The New Electric Cruise Ship Will Be A Step Towards Sustainability

In order to reduce the reliance on the battery, the retractable sails will rise out into the deck- which would reach a maximum height of 50 meters. They would adjust independently, which would shrink to pass under bridges or change their angle to catch the most wind- as mentioned by Larsson-Fedde. He added that the sails will cover 1,500 square meters of solar panels that will generate energy to the absolute top of the batteries while sailing- with the battery levels displayed on the side of the ship. 

Fedde stated, “In Norway, although it can be dark sometimes in winter, we still have sun in the south. And we have sun 24 hours a day in the Summer. We will be super-powered by the midnight sun on top of everything else.” The ship will have room for 270 cabins that will hold close to 500 guests and around 99 crew, and its streamlined shape will result in minimal air resistance- which would further help reduce energy usage. On board, the guests will be invited to minimize their impact on the climate through an interactive mobile app that aims at monitoring energy and personal water consumption. 

Read: Luxury Car Maker Is Replacing Gasoline With Air And Water

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Tapping Solar Power In Norway Can Be Ingenious

Hurtigruten Norway further mentioned, “We want to make them more aware of how much energy they use by spending 10 minutes more in the shower or having air conditioning going full.” Such a design could prove beneficial, as the shipping industry currently accounts for close to 3% of global manmade greenhouse gas emissions, according to the International Maritime Organization- the UN body regulating shipping around the globe. In 2018, the IMO brought in a target that would cut the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions by half around 2050. 

A rendition of the electric cruise ship showing the solar sails at full reach.
Image Credits: VARD Design

The development of this electric cruise ship has led to a new wave of designs for sailing vessels that are eco-friendly, from the transatlantic carrier Oceanbird, and other such cargo ships with retractable sails, to Oceanco’s Black Pearl superyacht, and Chantiers de Atlantique’s cruise ship with the folding solid sails. But most of these will be relying on engines that usually run on fossil fuels. Larsson-Fedde has noticed that although the design from Hurtigruten Norway will have a backup engine- purely for safety designs, it will be running on green fuels, such as methanol. Ammonia, or biofuel. 

The creator of the electric cruise ship has always been touted as a pioneer of sustainable shipping. In 2019, the company launched the first hybrid, battery-supported cruise ship in the world, and is currently in the process of converting the rest of the expedition fleet to hybrid battery power. 

Felin mentioned, “We are dependent on the ocean and the environment. That’s our product: clean oceans, clean harbors, local suppliers. We want to push and be the leader in sustainability, as we believe that our industry is far too slow and not ambitious enough.

Keep Reading: Country’s First Hydrogen Cars Come to Market, Emitting Only Water and Purifying the Air as They Drive


  1. An electric cruise ship with gigantic solar sails is set to launch in 2030.” CNN.  Nell Lewis. June 8, 2023
  2. “Zero-Emission Electric Cruise Ship With Solar Sails Set To Launch In 2030” Marine Insight. June 8 2023