A large-scale electrification of coastal transport is underway, particularly ferries and offshore vessels. This will be critical to Norway achieving its target of a 40 per cent overall cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The electrification is also a response to more stringent requirements in public procurement tenders. Requirements for energy efficiency and emissions are now weighted in tenders for ferries. As a result, there will be 60 electric ferries in operation in Norway by 2021.
Meanwhile, we are also seeing larger offshore vessels using batteries as extra energy storage for energy-intensive operations. This enables personnel to keep the rpm of engines more stable, thereby reducing fuel consumption. There have also been advances in plug-in hybrid vessels, which can charge their batteries in port and via generators on board. Thus they can sail out of ports and heavily populated areas on emission-free electric engines, before switching over to diesel engines.
In addition, there is growing interest in hydrogen, which can be used to fuel energy-intensive, zero-emission vessels such as cruise ships, high-speed vessels and other large vessels covering long distances.
Alongside technological developments in electrification, the regulatory framework is becoming stricter. The International Maritime Organization recently approved a target for cutting the shipping sector’s emissions by 50 per cent by 2050, compared with 2008 levels. Given an average vessel lifetime of 25–30 years, this will very soon have an impact on the industry. Therefore, when designing a ship today, you must take into account that emissions regulations will become considerably stricter during the ship’s lifetime and that a new energy mix will be available.