World’s first hybrid powered expedition cruise ships


Norway’s Hurtigruten selected a KONGSBERG hybrid diesel/battery installation for its new Polar Expeditionary cruise ships.

Emission-free power delivers strength and reliability

Operating in highly environmentally-sensitive areas, they must be able to operate with zero-emissions, while extreme conditions encountered in the Polar regions put an emphasis on strength and reliability.

Hurtigruten and shipbuilder Kleven worked with KONGSBERG on the expeditionary cruise ships MS Roald Amundsen and MS Fridtjof Nansen . Their goal - to ensure they operate emission-free in sensitive areas while meeting all environmental and reliability requirements dictated by the harsh polar conditions.

Operational flexibility

The vessel is designed with a hybrid configuration that makes it possible to achieve optimal power consumption at any time, pending on operational profile. Energy recovery was high on the agenda during the whole design phase, and waste heat recovery has been utilised to a maximum.

The hybrid diesel-electric and battery power plant at the heart of the ‘Polar Express’ vessels is based around four Bergen B33:45L6AD gensets, each producing 3,600k.

The engines are supplemented by a battery pack, primarily to provide ‘peak shaving’ – i.e. energy storage to provide reserve power at times of peak demand but can also offer ‘fully-electric’ operation.

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Reduced fuel consumption

Onboard the first ship, the Roald Amundsen a ‘first phase’ system fitted provides significant reductions in fuel consumption, although the second ship, Fridtjof Nansen, features a larger capacity ‘second phase’ battery pack. This is sufficient to allow fully electric sailing across greater distances and for longer periods and zero-emission port operation. Hurtigruten aims to upgrade the first ship to the same battery system.

The vessel is designed with two separate battery rooms to split the content of energy over two well-separated rooms in case of fire, for example. For safety reasons, the battery rooms and the systems are arranged for a total battery capacity of 6 MWh. However, due to the rapid technology development related to the batteries, the actual temporary installation is based on two battery packages generating 1750 kWh.

Zero-emissions with green technology

For zero-emissions mode, Kongsberg Maritime’s SAVe Energy Storage system powers the complete system, eliminating the need for running engines. For peak shaving, SAVe absorbs load variations in the power network, levelling out the peak load requirement. As such, power can be generated at peak efficiency resulting in lower fuel consumption.

In addition to KONGBERG’s newly developed AZP 120L-PM thrusters for main propulsion and manoeuvring, Kongsberg Maritime supplied the complete electric power system, including generators, motors, switchboards and power management system, including a full ACON integrated automation system.

It also included the Kongsberg Energy Management System (EMS) for real-time information about the vessels operation, fuel consumption and emissions levels.

  • 360m3

    Annual fuel saving

  • 1000t

    Annual CO2 saving

  • 3t

    Annual NOx saving

Innovative technology meets strict environmental demands

The decision to invest in a hybrid solution was an important milestone in Hurtigruten’s goal of sailing fully electric expeditionary ships in the Arctic and Antarctic.

The technology, in combination with the design of the hull and effective use of electricity onboard, will reduce the fuel consumption by approximately 20%. CO2 emissions from the ships are also reduced by a similar amount. This amounts to more than 3,000 tonnes of CO2 saved per year.

Hybrid propulsion system for Hurtigruten’s next wave of explorer cruise ships

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  • Tore Sveen Søreide
    Regional Sales Manager, APAC
  • Gaute Aasen Augestad
    Regional Sales Manager, Europe and Africa
  • Per Kristian Vågsæter
    Regional Sales Manager, Americas

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Kongsberg Maritime’s hybrid propulsion system has already delivered proven benefits across a wide range of maritime sectors