Sea Zero

For a lower-emission future

Channeling the same pioneering spirit as our first voyage in 1893, we are embarking on a journey to build our first ship with zero-emission propulsion for The Coastal Express by 2030. It is the most ambitious sustainability initiative in our 130-year history.

To reach “Sea Zero”, we are partnering with science-institute SINTEF to explore exciting, state-of-the-art solutions in energy efficiency and battery electric power.


Energy-efficient cruise ships

We’re excited to unveil early concept designs for our first zero-emission ship. The possible design features include:

  • Large 60MWh battery bank

  • Retractable wind and solar sails

  • Smart cabins with real-time energy monitoring

Our vision

Hedda Felin, CEO of Hurtigruten, explains what our goal of Sea Zero means: 

“The Coastal Express has sailed the Norwegian coast for 130 years. For us to sail for 130 years more, we need to change the way we sail. We are now upgrading our fleet, cutting CO2 emissions by 25%. Still, for our precious nature and for future generations, we have to do more.

It will require a lot of hard work, a lot of investment, and a lot of collaboration with very clever partners. But I know we’ll get there.”

Hedda Felin, Hurtigruten Norway CEO is standing in front of a Hurtigruten ship on the Norwegian Coast
Hurtigruten Norway ship sailing in Raftsundet, Northern Norway. The water is turquoise and the peaks are covered in snow

Starting from home

We’re proud to launch Sea Zero on and for the Norwegian coast. This is our home.

It is the ideal location for developing new ships that can operate with zero emissions thanks to Norway’s strong political will to support sustainable shipping, alongside future infrastructure for green energy.

Sailing these shores and fjords since 1893, we as The Coastal Express also have a long heritage of working closely with leading research institutions and innovative ship design companies, giving us the confidence to set Sea Zero as our goal.

Advancing hybrid electric technology

Even though our goal is a ship that can sail with zero emissions, we are doing a lot with the ships and the technology we have already today.

That’s why we’ve invested approximately €100 million into environmental upgrades for our existing fleet, including transforming three ships to use hybrid electric power. By 2025, these changes will have cut CO2 emissions by 25% and NOx emissions by 80%.

Sea Zero will go further and allow our ships to be fully emission-free when in operations. Not just for a few hours, but always.

MS Richard With in Raftsundet

Scientific solutions

To meet the challenges of Sea Zero, we are excited to work with SINTEF, one of Europe’s largest independent research organisations.

“The research and development behind the Sea Zero concept will demonstrate that zero-emission technology is available also for relatively large vessels and mark the end of fossil-fuelled coastal shipping.”

Gunnar Malm Gamlem, Project Manager, SINTEF Ocean 

Charting a course to Sea Zero

For our journey to zero-emission ships by 2030, SINTEF collaborated with us to carry out a feasibility study in summer 2022. It showed that to achieve Sea Zero for The Coastal Express, our new ships need to reach new standards in energy efficiency and primarily use sustainable electric energy, combined with small volumes of climate-neutral back-up fuel.

The next phase is to collaborate with other partners to explore these solutions further and to qualify precisely how these measures can contribute to our overall goal of sustainability and operations with zero emissions.

Feasibility factors

The study first analysed the following factors of our ships:  

  • Passenger safety 

  • Energy-use heat map 

  • Cargo and crew 

  • Operational schedule 

  • Ship manoeuvrability 

  • Wave and wind statistics 

Examining the challenges

The study also outlined how sailing emission-free along the coast presents unique challenges that require pioneering solutions. Any innovations must still:

  • Put safety first

  • Ensure regularity of our service to all 34 ports

  • Overcome design limitations for docking at small ports

  • Establish infrastructure for electric power and climate-neutral fuels from sustainable sources

Electric evolution

The feasibility study found three reasons why and how our future ships will be fully electric vessels in normal operations, equipped with batteries that are charged with renewable energy when in port.

  1. A power train with batteries, cables, and electric propulsion motors utilises 90% of the available energy, compared to just 45-50% in a conventional diesel engine

  2. Norwegian electricity from hydropower has a CO2 footprint of around 10 g/kWh compared to the European average of 230 and the global average of 475 g/kWh

  3. The consistency and reliability of our route for decades means it is possible to facilitate in-dock charging for our ships at around half of the ports along our route

Beyond zero greenhouse gas emissions, all solutions must be as sustainable as possible in every respect, including emissions to sea.

Energy efficiency

As only 1/7 of the global energy today is renewable, and energy is becoming an even more scarce resource, energy efficiency will be a pillar in our Sea Zero project. SINTEF’s scientists and engineers will examine all the systems and equipment in the new ship design to make sure each uses the lowest possible energy.

The feasibility study identified nearly 50 areas and innovations that will significantly reduce energy consumption across aspects such as:

  • Hydrodynamics

  • Aerodynamics

  • Propulsion

  • Machinery

  • Insulation

  • Ventilation

  • Heat exchange

The technologies SINTEF identified as promising in the feasibility study will now be explored further with our industry partners. Together, we will find out the positive effects each measure will have to our shared goal of Sea Zero.

Come aboard

Are you as excited as we are about Sea Zero? If you’re a company, organisation, research institute, government department who would like to know more about Sea Zero and how you might get involved, please contact us.

Contact details

All enquiries: [email protected]

Project and research: Ada Rødland, HRN Project Manager Sea Zero [email protected]

The Captain on the bridge on board a Hurtigruten ship