Arctic ship, explore, cruise, electric, catamaran
Photo: Brim Explorer

Electric catamarans to ply Arctic waters

The Norwegian exploration travel and shipping company Hurtigruten has partnered with the Norwegian startup Brim Explorer to construct a battery-powered catamaran for polar exploration.

Hurtigruten, the Norwegian exploration company, has partnered with the Norwegian startup Brim Explorer to design an electric passenger catamaran for silent and sustainable polar exploration.

Beginning next spring, the 24-metre vessel will operate under the Hurtigruten Svalbard brand, taking daily ocean voyages from Longyearbyen.

“Brim and Hurtigruten found each other through our common passion for the oceans. Their vision to change the way people experience the Arctic is a perfect match to our bold sustainability ambitions. We firmly believe the future of travel is emission-free,” Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said.

Hurtigruten has also named Spitsbergen (May to October), Lofoten (spring/summer/autumn) and Tromsø (winter) as future areas of operation for the 24 by 11-metre catamaran dubbed Brim.

Battery packs
The ship is capable of accommodating up to 140 passengers. Battery packs with a capacity of 800 kWh will guarantee a service life of ten hours at a speed of ten knots.

“We have created the first sightseeing vessel in the world able to operate a full day on electric power, and we look forward to using our knowledge to move the travel industry in a greener direction together with Hurtigruten,” said Agnes Árnadóttir, Brim Explorer co-founder and CEO.

The catamaran will also be fitted with hydrophones and underwater drones from Blueye Robotics, another Norwegian startup already partnering with Hurtigruten.

The partners will also work on integrating solar panels with the electric driveline to exploit the 24-hour Arctic sun to charge the batteries while sailing. They are also looking at developing renewable energy stations in smaller ports for recharging the vessel.

The catamaran is currently under construction at Maritime Partners in Ålesund. It is expected to be launched in July and to fly the flag of Hurtigruten Svalbard in August.

The parent company is already investing in a second ship of the same design, which is scheduled for completion in summer 2020.

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