Hybrid commuter ferry cuts emissions

A scenic commuter route in North Norway now features a car and passenger ferry running on electric power and biodiesel. Carbon emissions are down 60 per cent.


National Geographic has dubbed the Coastal Route in North Norway one of the most scenic roads in the world. Roads along the jagged Norwegian coastline, however, not only cross land but also include ferries.

Green solutions for crossing waterways are essential for such coastal infrastructure to ensure minimal environmental footprint.

Ferry innovation

Transport company Torghatten has put into traffic a hybrid ferry, MF Hornstind, in sheltered waters along the Coastal Route. Connecting the small communities of Tjøtta and Frovik by a 50-minute ride, the ferry runs as a regular service for passenger cars and commercial lorries.

In the past, the route was trafficked by a traditional diesel ferry, but Hornstind runs on biodiesel and electric power, dramatically cutting emissions.

The 70-metre-long and 14.3-metre-wide ferry is designed by Norwegian shipbuilders Multi Maritime. It runs at 12 knots and holds 60 cars and six lorries, with a panoramic lounge and outdoor space for passengers, as well as two charging stations for electric cars.

The Hornstind’s electric system is delivered by ABB and has a 500-kWh battery, which can be upgraded to 2 000 kWh to make the ferry electric-only. For now, the battery runs in tandem with four biodiesel generators to deliver an optimised energy mix.

Concrete benefits

The hybrid ferry saves 20 per cent on fuel compared to traditional ferries and reduces NOₓ emissions by 85 per cent. When running on biodiesel, CO₂ emissions are cut by as much as 60 per cent. Steering mechanisms are designed for economical manoeuvring, while an aerodynamic hull ensures optimal fuel efficiency.

Market potential

The market for hybrid and electric-only vessels will rise to over USD 20 billion by 2027, according to market researchers IDTechEx. There are over 100 manufacturers of electric vessels worldwide, but that figure is expected to grow rapidly.

MF Hornstind is the first of its kind from shipbuilders Multi Maritime and the first Torghatten has put into operation.

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Havnegata 40, 8900 BRØNNØYSUND, Norway

+47 75 02 00 00

At a glance

  • Hybrid ferry running on biodiesel and electric power

  • Reduces CO₂ emissions by 60% and NOₓ emissions by 85%

  • In operation since July 2017 along Norway’s scenic Coastal Route

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