Norled: Fast ferries, fast-forwarding to green ferries

Norled: Fast ferries, fast-forwarding to green ferries

Norled AS is one of Norway’s largest ferry and express boat operators, being the second-largest ferry operator in Norway and the national market leader within fast ferries (high-speed crafts). Norled also ranks as number four within fast ferries, globally.

Norled has roots dating back to 1855, and has been innovation driven for more than 160 years. The company has 80 vessels and operates ferry and express boat services from the Oslofjord to Troms county in Norway. Fjord tourism is also a major service and business area. The company has over 1,000 employees and an annual turnover of NOK 2.4bn ($268m approx.), with its head office in Stavanger and branch offices in Bergen and Oslo.

Norled has invested significantly in new types of vessels and eco-friendly technology, and has developed solutions used solely by the company. In 2015, the company ignited a ‘silent green revolution’ by introducing MF Ampere, the world’s first zero-emission ferry (pictured inset). By July 2019 the MF Ampere had sailed a distance equal to seven times around the equatorial line. Hence, it is indisputable that the technology is working; by 2022 Norway will have approximately 75 such siblings sailing in the Norwegian fjords, H2 View understands.

Norwegian Authorities, who actively promote the green transformation, have indicated that the electrification of national ferries would reduce CO2 emissions from these ferries by as much as 75% from 2015 to 2030 (levels). The fast ferry market in Norway is also about to be electrified, and Norled is ready to convert three of the most popular commuter passenger ferries in Oslo to run on electricity instead of LNG, which was its first green step for these vessels. Another step forward was taken when Norled’s diesel-electric fast ferry MS Fjordled started sailing from Haugesund in April.

“…the electrification of national ferries would reduce CO2 emissions from these ferries by as much as 75% from 2015 to 2030”

But Norled’s ambitions and ongoing projects go significantly further. Norled is working towards the launch of one of the world’s first hydrogen-fuelled ferries in 2021, capable of carrying 80 cars and 299 passengers. Another initiative, together with partners in the ZeFF (Zero Emission Fast Ferry) project, is to introduce hydrogen-fuelled fast ferries (100-300 passengers and service speeds of 25-45 knots) by 2022.

Success with green liquid hydrogen in Norway paves the way for long haul ferry and fast ferries to become emission free, representing yet another game-changer in hydrogen mobility. The significance of this is not lost on Norled, who affirmed, to H2 View, “We believe these hydrogen projects will further accelerate the green shift in the global maritime industry, and support IMOs ambitions to reduce shipping sector emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared by 2008.”


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