On 19 April 2018 tourist ship owner and operator The Fjords took delivery of a vessel that sets new standards for environmentally responsible passenger transport.
Future of The Fjords, a 42m long carbon fibre 400 PAX all-electric catamaran, will begin operation in mid-May, making around 700 yearly round trips along the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage listed fjord route between Flåm and Gudvangen.
She is the first vessel of its kind to offer completely emission free transport through the beautiful, yet fragile, Western Norwegian landscape.
Future of The Fjords is the sistership to Vision of The Fjords, a diesel electric hybrid launched to universal acclaim in 2016. Although both ships are designed and constructed by Norwegian shipyard Brødrene Aa, with hulls that mirror the zigzagging mountain paths they sail beside, they are very different once you scratch the surface, as The Fjords CEO Rolf Sandvik explains:
“It is our mission to safeguard the vulnerable environment we give access to, while providing the absolute optimal experience for our passengers,” he notes. “With Future of The Fjords it’s mission accomplished.
“Vision of The Fjords was an important development for us, but we had the ambition to take it one step further and replace the diesel electric propulsion with all-electric – thus eradicating all noise and emissions to air for the entire route. Future of The Fjords does just that, minimising its impact on the environment while maximising the experience of passengers who can now glide silently over the water and come closer to nature than ever before. Taking this delivery is a very proud day for us, and for our progressive owners Fjord1 and Flåm AS. The Future has arrived!”
The NOK 144 million vessel is propelled by two 450kW electric motors, enabling cruising speeds of 16 knots along the spectacular 90 minute each way voyage. In another first, The Fjords has, in partnership with Brødrene Aa, developed a unique charging solution called the Power Dock.
This 40m by 5m floating glass fibre dock will sit in the water at Gudvangen, housing a 2.4 MWh battery pack. This charges steadily throughout the day via connection to the local grid network, which does not have the capacity to charge the Future of The Fjords directly.
The innovative solution allows the vessel to stably, efficiently and cost effectively ‘refill’ in just 20 minutes.
What’s more, the dock also stores consumables, fuel for sister vessels, and allows black water to be offloaded for treatment on land. This makes Future of The Fjords the only passenger vessel not to discharge sewage directly into the fjords.
“We can’t wait to welcome our first passengers on-board for the trip of a lifetime,” Sandvik concludes. “We now hope Future of the Fjords can become a benchmark for environmentally responsible vessel operators worldwide, ushering in a new breed of clean, green and spectacular passenger transport.”