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New Hydrogen-Powered Vessels to Tackle Norway’s Most Challenging Ferry Crossing

Just like land-based public transportation is transitioning to cleaner, more sustainable alternatives, so are passenger and car ferries. New electric or hybrid-electric ferries have premiered in various parts of the world throughout 2021, and soon enough, two hydrogen-powered vessels are expected to enter service in Norway.
Two hydrogen-powered ferries will be operating on Norway's most challenging route 7 photos
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Torghatten Nord will be operating two hydrogen-powered ferries between Bodo and the Lofoten Islands, as a result of having won a contract with the Norwegian Public Roads Administration. Apparently, it was a tight competition, and the fact that Torghatten Nord won is another confirmation of the country’s commitment to eco-friendly development.

The two RoPax ferries will have a maximum capacity of 120 cars and 599 passengers. Each almost 400-foot-long (120 meters), they will be powered by hydrogen, although no additional details about the propulsion system have been released yet. The new ferries were designed by Norwegian Ship Design, and meant to operate year-round. This will require approximately five to six tons of hydrogen per day, according to the designer.

What’s interesting about the future ferries’ route is that it’s no easy one, but Norway’s most challenging ferry crossing. Crossing the Vestfjorden, in order to get from the mainland of Bodo to the three islands in Lofoten, involves over 62 miles (100 km) of open ocean crossing, above the Arctic Circle.

But the hydrogen ferries won’t be alone all throughout the year, on this difficult route. During the summer, when the tourist season is at its peak, they will be joined by the two previous ferries operating this route. The old ferries will also contribute to lowering emissions, at a smaller scale, by replacing the LNG (liquid natural gas) that was previously used, with biofuel.

Another interesting feature of the new hydrogen-powered ferries is that they will only use green hydrogen, which is the one obtained using renewable energy, for a truly eco-friendly alternative for passenger and car transportation. But that won’t happen until 2025, when the new ships are expected to begin tackling the most difficult ferry route in Norway.

Editor's note: Gallery showing various ferries operated by Torghatten Nord

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