Mobility &Transport

Sea Zero, the cruise ship of the future with maxi solar panels retractable

Energy efficiency and AI for the cruise ship of the future

Not everyone would know this, but cruise ships that regularly ply European waters pollute 20 times more than all the cars that run on EU roads every year (T&E data). And most of the emissions are discharged into ports where boats are moored with their engines running, even for days, to operate the onboard services. Yet reconciling this segment of the tourism industry with higher climate and environmental ambitions is not impossible and the Norwegian shipping company Hurtigruten wants to prove it. The company, in addition to dealing with the ferry service along the coast of the country, organizes cruises in Antarctica and in various Arctic destinations such as Svalbard and Greenland and today is committed to building the cruise ship of the future.

The initiative takes the name of Sea Zero and aims to create the most advanced passenger ship in the world of its kind, with zero emissions and reduced consumption. This is a joint project that also involves the research institute SINTEF and 12 other Norwegian partners, who in recent days have provided some technical details of the new boat. “These are the first conceptual sketches for ships that will be the most innovative and sustainable in the world,” says Gerry Larsson-Fedde, Hurtigruten Norway’s chief operating officer, unveiling the concept.

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The future Hurtigruten cruise ships will be electric, equipped with 60 MWh battery packs to be charged during stops in ports. The consortium plans include innovative solutions such as three retractable sails, equipped with integrated solar panels: 1,500 m² of photovoltaic cells that will cover both sides of the sails.

Innovation on board

On board also artificial intelligence programs to assist in maneuvers. “The I.A. can collect a huge amount of data to learn the most efficient and safe way to and from the port. It will be a useful help for navigators and can improve the way ships dock in bad weather and reduce the number of cancellations“, explains the company in a press note. The cruise ship of the future will also be equipped with retractable thrusters, air lubrication under the ship’s keel, advanced hull lining and proactive cleaning of the same to reduce water resistance.

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